Sunday, May 19, 2013
my best kept secret
ph: Margaret Durow
My therapist said I should write you a letter. Free hand, she said. Just keep writing and writing. But if I did this with a pen my arm would give out much faster than my fingers would typing on a computer. So I went for the 21st century version of writing a letter. I feel almost angry writing this, knowing you’ll never read it. I know you’ll never read it because I’ll never have the guts to give it to you. There’s no point. It’d be like reading a letter from a stranger. Because that’s what we are. What we’ve become. Strangers. I don’t even know how either of us would react were we to pass one another on the street. Would we smile? Light up with joy? Or be shy and coy? Would we ignore one another, or pretend like we hadn’t seen each other and quickly glance the other way? Would it be awkward or extraordinary? My therapist knows a few things about me. Where I go to school, my relationship with my parents, what I want to be, my addictions. And last week she learned another thing about me. I am a hopeless romantic. I am a 22 year old woman holding onto the relationship I had when I was a 15 year old girl because I’ve yet to find another relationship as fulfilling since ours. As I was explaining our story to her I could hear and feel how pathetic I sounded. How delusional. I didn’t mention to her that I’ve driven past your house 3 times in the last month to see if your car was in the driveway. Am I hitting stalker potential? Is it you I miss or the feelings that relationship gave me? I know how crazy I sound. “Let go” everyone I’ve ever told our story to says, “you need to learn to let go”. But how does one go about doing that? It’s been four years since I’ve seen you. Six since we’ve broken up. Don’t you think if I knew how to let go I would have done it by now?! I feel like screaming at them all.
Most days I am able to convince myself I think about you so often because I long to be in love again. And you were the only person I’ve ever experienced that with. And then other days I am imagining scenarios in my head of what I’d do if we met face to face again. A lot of the time I wonder if you ever think of me. If you wonder what I’m doing. I mean I live down the street, I’m your ex girlfriend, your first serious relationship you must think of me sometimes, right? Writing this I feel so foolish. I see on paper the thoughts and feelings in my head that I am ashamed of. This is really getting quite old you know? I’m sick of talking about it myself. I wish I could see you once more soon, this summer even, just so I can get the idea of seeing you out of my head. And maybe then I’ll feel better. I don’t know why it is I feel the need to see you. I think the spiteful part of me just wants to see how you’d react.
You nailed it on the head when signing my high school yearbook, “I guess the saddest thing about our whole situation is that there was no definite ending.” You can say that again. I need an ending. I don’t leave things half finished or with a “…. To be continued” on the end. You’ve gone on and written two other love stories while I am still here waiting for the final unfinished chapter of ours. This is a co-author deal here Glen, I can’t write the ending alone. Jesus I sound like such a psycho ex girlfriend. But I often wonder do you talk to your friends about me at all? When they talk to me every now and then do you guys have casual conversation about it? “Oh I saw Brittany in New Brunswick the other night…”
I guess I just don’t understand how someone can mean so much to you and then you’re okay with never seeing them again. I’ve been okay with not seeing exes because I wasn’t in love with them. I was only ever in love with you, and I know in my heart you were in love with me too. How do you fall out of love? More importantly how do you fall out of your first love? Is it possible to? Is it really possible to ever fully move on? Or do we just find someone else to fall in love with to fill the void? I think the saddest thing about my still thinking about this all these years later is I don’t even really know you now. We’ve been apart five years since high school and we’ve both changed, and grown, and become two totally different people from who we were when we were 17. In a way as a result of the ending of our relationship and the obviousness that we weren’t getting back together I think I started to love myself a little less. Maybe that’s why it was so easy for me to lose myself in the college scene. I’ve changed a lot you know. Not so great in some ways. I’ve damaged my body, my relationships, my GPA, my trustworthiness, and most of all my spirit. You said in my yearbook not to lose myself among the crowd, to stand out and be individualistic. Is that what you loved about me so much? That back when I was in high school I didn’t care about fitting in? I don’t blame the friends I’ve made, I have made some wonderful ones along the way don’t get me wrong. They have pulled me out of some of my darkest nights, moments I would never dare to bring up again. I blame my inability to say no when it was appropriate. But it would be so easy to blame you for all of my downfalls the last five years. I’ve tried relationships but got bored. I’ve run away from opportunities to be loved. I’ve been reckless with others’ hearts. I have been chaotic. And I’m not proud. But I’m learning and working on it and trying to get myself back to a place where I’m not afraid to look in the mirror. But you don't know any of this about me.
So I wake up day to day, go to work, go to class, go to family functions, hang out with friends, drive my car, take showers, apply makeup, read books, eat dinner with my family, go to church, run in my neighborhood, go to the grocery store and the mall, order coffee at drive throughs, text several people a day, see a therapist, write in a diary, stay up late, do all of this and all the awhile no one I come in contact with ever knows that I am always thinking of you. You have always been my best kept secret.