Well everyone I know has got a reason,
To say, put the past away.
I remember friends differently, clutching too tightly as usual, to memories and alternate realities they’ve long forgotten.
There’s a friend I wrote letters I never sent to, for instance. Our friendship fell apart at seventeen and at eighteen, still fractured, I wrote to her several times with an angry and hateful voice, like a scorned lover, at the betrayal I never got over and the closure I never received. In my colorful history of friendship breakups, this one struck most painfully. I wrote until I had nothing left to spill, then I tore them all because some things… are better left in the past.
How about that friend with her peculiar laugh? We were chummy at fourteen, but now I can’t even remember what it was that was always so funny that she’d laugh her heart out. Or how about that guy I made fast friends with over the course of three days and three nights back in summer 2012, when he did me a favor by fetching me to and from work in the small town? I could’ve sworn sparks flew between us and bounced around in the tiny space of his car- but I also never met him again, and a year later received an invitation to his wedding reception.
Some friends are defined by our setting at that specific time. My best friend – if I can still call her that – for example, is noted The Deskmate here because we sat next to each other in high school for two consecutive years and grew close as a result. When I think of my closest friend here, the girl I spend most of my Friday nights with, train rides come to mind. I wonder if it’s because the two of us constantly want to be in motion and away from this place that is both wonderful and deceptive to us. It’s like we keep trying to get away, hence this feeling of being on the run together.
…only recalled when a certain song is played, or the sky feels like a certain weather.
When I think of train rides, she comes to mind and these days, this has me sighing heavily with guilt. My hypocrisy and dishonesty, her stubbornness and limited patience; we all have our demons. I am so far removed from the girls of my childhood, yet it is so easy to trigger a memory from the past. A handwritten letter in my drawer, for example, gutted me with a strong pang of nostalgia of a specific friendship that in my innocence, I had believed would last forever. Stumbling across the name of an author I used to like brought back memories of gifting the author’s book to a particular friend who I thought would especially love to own a copy; we don’t talk anymore. I’ve never been good with photos, physical or digital. How many times in the past have I let them slip away because it’s too painful? Though honestly, what for? Everything I want and wish to forget are kept in different compartments of my heart and mind anyway.
The truth is, I don’t understand myself.
It’s true, I promise it isn’t that I am stuck in the past, or hold them, all these different names and faces from the past, responsible for how I’ve turned out. I just don’t understand why I clutch on too tightly, long after the curtain has closed and dust has accumulated in spaces that held countless once upon a time. Are they to blame for the reason that I am a solitary being, or in reality should the past be traced further back, much deeper and more sinister, directed at totally different names and faces? Or is this, is this- is solitary simply my state of being, a natural trait? Would I have turned out this way anyway, with or without fractured friendships and failed attempts at fruitless love? Sometimes when I look back at the past, oftentimes I want to simultaneously laugh and cry in mortification over my childish acts.
All those handmade cards and handwritten letters I’d sent with my overly sentimental voice spilling over pages after pages to people who I now wonder if they deserved them, all of it. Sometimes I wish I could rewind the clock, just so I could retrieve pieces of myself I’d given away. I wish I valued myself more back then, though on second thought- just how do we decide who is deserving of our true selves? How do we know just who we can trust our most precious – ourselves – with? Flaws and falseness, do they stem from our own short-sighted perceptions or theirs?
Lately the sky feels like a certain weather.
We can put the past away.
– Third Eye Blind, Jumper