Thought Catalog

How We Talk About The People We Don’t Know Anymore

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We broach the subject in a shade-cloaked backyard after drinking three glasses of wine with a friend who has never met them, will never meet them. We begin slowly, carefully, flirting with ambiguity and speaking in fat generalizations: this guy I once dated and it was a long time ago. But there’s something so intoxicating about remembering what we fought to forget, isn’t there, so we speak in finites and details now, we won’t quit while we’re ahead. That has always been our problem. We get into the way he fixed pasta and his dried, storied hands; we get into the things he’s confessed to crying over, the death of beloved pets and the divorcing of parents. We speak of the films we watched in bed together and which of his friends we miss the most; we wonder what they’re doing now.

We talk about black nights giving way to pink mornings and half-planned vacations that never came to fruition, we talk about nicknames and restaurants and cigarette brands. Bad haircuts and live jazz and suitable names for a cat and fights about nothing. We talk about how easy it is to trick yourself into believing that being good together is enough, that it will only get better, that some piece of him knew what we knew. We talk about disappointment, about holding our tongues, about losing what we never had. We talk about endings and how to recognize one coming from a mile away.

And now our chattering slows and our friend — who was listening intently and smiling and maybe remembering a person they don’t know anymore — will stop smiling so much. Our friend is familiar with dread, the way it sounds, how it creeps into our voices when we talk about our strangers. And a chill runs through us, through our friend, through the shade-cloaked backyard; it punctuates the abrupt conclusion …and that’s it, as if that could ever be ‘it,’ as if this story isn’t still unfolding this very moment as we sit here reciting it for entertainment or punishment or to remind ourselves that these kinds of things happen to people like us.

We talk about them hesitantly, tiptoeing around specifics and avoiding his name as though saying it aloud will resuscitate something better off dead, as though five random letters strung together in the correct order could summon the most lifeless parts of us. We talk about them in whispers, like making it difficult for our audience to hear our regrets will somehow make them easier to say. We talk about them cautiously, because we might get carried away and remember them like a human and not like a topic to avoid at dinner parties and birthday celebrations and other places where we’re supposed to be happy. When we talk about the people we no longer know, we do it timidly because we’re prone to remembering things better than they were, because we know we’re saying all of the right words to the wrong ears, because we never really knew our strangers to begin with — a truth our hearts can only acknowledge in the quietest and smallest of voices. TC mark

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Poetry that will change you

This is for the women who are first to get naked, howl at the moon and jump into the sea. This is for the women who seek relentless joy; the ones who know how to laugh with their whole souls. The women who speak to strangers because they have no fear in their hearts. This is for the women who drink coffee at midnight and wine in the morning, and dare you to question it. This is for the women who throw down what they love, and don’t waste time following society’s pressures to exist behind a white picket fence. The women who create wildly, unbalanced, ferociously and in a blur at times. This — is for you.

“When Janne has a new poem written, I shut my life down to do nothing but read it, and then when I turn my life back on, everything is better.” — James Altucher

You’ve never read poetry like this before

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  • guest.

    This was very pretty.

  • Anonymous

    Powerful, indeed.

  • Kirsten G.

    Its true. I didn’t know him as well as I thought. But it sucks more when I knew him well enough to know how it’d turn out.

  • http://summerslowrunner.wordpress.com/ Summer

    This was exquisite. We do have a funny way of remembering things through rose-colored glasses instead of seeing a person or a situation for what it really was. Kind of silly, when you think about it. Seems like our self-preservation tactics would kick in and we’d be inclined to remember the worst parts instead.

    If only that were the case. 

  • http://raymondthimmes.com/ Raymond Thimmes

    The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows

    • Merrdujapon

      Awesome

  • Victoria

    This made me shutter with how right you caught this feeling.

  • JennaCoy

    This chick can sure write lovely things!

  • GUEST

          hit the nail on the head..

  • Lili M

    And yet everytime I think of him like that, tears still swell in my eyes, like I haven’t gotten over him, only, it’s been years. Funny how emotions feel stronger in memory than in reality.

  • http://twitter.com/Amphx AnnamariaPhilippeaux

    Beautiful and haunting. Like the person you’re speaking of (: I wanted it to go on!

  • http://littlesparksofmadness.blogspot.com/ Soniasaurus

    That last paragraph is brilliant.

  • Ka

    This was haunting, beutiful, AND truthful.

  • Ka

    *beautiful

  • Sophia

    That last sentence is haunting me with its truthfulness.

  • Anonymous

    write a book, will you?

  • Liz

    “We talk about them hesitantly, tiptoeing around specifics and avoiding his name as though saying it aloud will resuscitate something better off dead, as though five random letters strung together in the correct order could summon the most lifeless parts of us.”

    This is everything.

  • http://refrainfromthemundane.tumblr.com/ Cris Ambrose

    Eery, brilliant, haunting, and beautiful. 
    I, too, was thinking of the stranger I used to know, or rather, never knew at all.

    Keep at it, love.

  • Shatha H.

    “as though five random letters strung together in the correct order could summon the most lifeless parts of us”…gorgeous

  • Mouse in the house

    Incredible. Five random letters, indeed.

  • Ariane B

    Thank you so much for this. 
    I love everything you write, you’re brilliant.

  • Shannon

    I just started reading this blog today, and I can already tell you are my favorite writer. Are you in my head? If so, stay there. I need to know others feel this way, too!

  • Rose

    “there’s something so intoxicating about remembering what we fought to forget”

    Absolutely haunting. This piece can effect every person that reads it, each in its own way.

  • http://chanchecatalog.wordpress.com/2012/12/03/top-10-thought-catalog-articles/ Top 10 Thought Catalog Articles « Chanche Catalog

    […] -How We Talk About The People We Don’t Know Anymore/ Stephanie Georgopulos (5/8/12) […]

  • http://bcommeariane.com/2012/05/13/part-of-me-wants-to-say-theres-a-part-of-me-over-you/ Part of me wants to say there’s a part of me over you. | b comme ariane

    […] We broach the subject in a shade-cloaked backyard after drinking three glasses of wine with a friend who has never met them, will never meet them. We begin slowly, carefully, flirting with ambiguity and speaking in fat generalizations: this guy I once dated and it was a long time ago. But there’s something so intoxicating about remembering what we fought to forget, isn’t there, so we speak in finites and details now, we won’t quit while we’re ahead. That has always been our problem. We get into the way he fixed pasta and his dried, storied hands; we get into the things he’s confessed to crying over, the death of beloved pets and the divorcing of parents. We speak of the films we watched in bed together and which of his friends we miss the most; we wonder what they’re doing now. -How we talk about the people we don’t know anymore by Stephanie Georgopulos on Thought Catalog  […]

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