You've been on my mind a lot recently. Not in a nostalgic way. Not because I miss you. Not fondly or painfully. You've just been there. Popping up in conversation, sometimes appearing as a spectre in a dream, just there. Like a fly in the corner of the kitchen that I can't be bothered with, or like an uninteresting story on the news people won't stop talking about. You're just...there. Neither good nor bad. I hate writing like this - it doesn't seem genuine. But, I also can't help it. You always brought out the art in me. You hated it so much, didn't understand it - it made me realize that art is who I am and I can't separate myself from it. I wish I could write you a "normal" letter, the way I shoot off texts that don't really mean anything to my friends - full of emojis and slang and half sentences that still convey what I feel, but I can't. Not to you. I have to think about what I'm saying and phrase it carefully - you always fucked with my head in that way. It wasn't ever easy.
There are times when I think of you and I feel gratitude. I'm not angry anymore. I think you should know that. I stopped being angry a long time ago. I don't hate you. We couldn't agree on a god we mutually believed in, so we called the guiding force in the universe The Big Magnet. We credited The Big Magnet for pulling us together, for the reason why we couldn't be apart. We didn't want to take responsibility for our actions. The Big Magnet pulled us into the same sphere and kept us near each other. And for that, I am grateful. You came into my life at a time when I needed you. I needed someone to love me and tell me that I was wonderful and fulfill my ideas of what a relationship should be. I needed to learn that relationships aren't actually like that, thank you for teaching me. Thank you for supporting me and wanting what you thought was best for me, even if wasn't what was actually best. It's hard to pinpoint times, moments, places, but there was a lot of good there and I was very happy for a time. I wouldn't be who I am now without you, so I do feel gratitude towards you.
Then there are times when thinking of you does nothing but bring me pain. Not a sharp, stabbing pain. It's more like... the arthritis in my knee. I forget it's there until a cold morning or a hot night comes and my knee is tight, throbbing, and it's hard to get out of bed. The pain I feel when I think of you doesn't start in my knee, it's more like tightness in my belly. It starts there and squeezes my stomach until the organs squish together and then it moves back up through my digestive system to the throat and settles there, making my vocal chords hum and throb and makes it hard to talk. I don't want to be dramatic - but I've cried an ocean of tears over you. I used to wish I could turn into a mermaid and swim away in that ocean to somewhere else. It would have been nice to be a mermaid right after everything went down - God knows I never wanted to open my legs again. There are so many things I don't understand about it. Why? Why did you want me to be small? So small that after it was over I shrank - to the lowest weight I've been as an adult -trying to fit into the box that you tried to put me in. If you thought I was so wonderful - why did you want me to change? Did you just prefer the idea of me? I was so fat when we were together. You loved me that way. Maybe I lost so much weight because I needed to peel back the layers the real me was hidden under. Not the me I tried to be to keep you around and keep you happy. Do you remember trying to teach me how to drive a stick shift? You yelled at me because I kept stalling the car. I yelled at you for yelling at me. It was over within 30 minutes. I think being with you was like trying to drive a stick shift and I couldn't ever figure out the right timing between brake, gas, and clutch...and then your emotions would just stall out.
On that note, I suppose I should tell you what I mostly think when I think of you - - I pity you, mostly. Pity sounds like a terrible word. It sounds harsh and spiteful. That's not how I mean it. Not at all. The dictionary definition - the feeling of sorrow and compassion caused by the suffering and misfortunes of others - that's what I feel. Your emotions always stalled. Mine were a bubbling well, a frothy milkshake, and yours were...constipated. I can't imagine living like that. It sounds so...brutal. I know you had your shit. It was one of the first things we talked about. You asked me not to get too close to you, because you had shit. I told you we all had shit; I got close anyway. I don't fault myself for that. It's who I am. I crave closeness, I seek it out every where I go, in every one I meet. I don't think I should have listened to you. I think you should have stepped up. Like I said, we all have shit. I don't excuse your actions, your behaviors, or anything that you put me through. Not even a little bit. Your pain is not an excuse for inflicting pain on others - whether it's intentional or accidental. You fucked up by me, and you know that - whether or not you will admit that now. And I don't regret you not stepping up then; just like The Big Magnet pulled us together, it was time for it to adjust our polarity and pull us apart from one another. But, I wish you could have changed for your own sake. I've heard things - there are still parts of our social circles that are in the center of that Venn diagram. And the things I've heard don't paint a pretty picture. It's a photograph of a stalled smoking car. I don't pray for you anymore - - magic only works on the willing. I just feel bad that you can't grow into - I suppose I should say that person I thought you were or I thought you could be. He would have been one hell of a man. But, I'm sure that's hypocritical. I know there's a woman you wanted me to be - and I am most certainly not her.
You and I often argued about the black and white in the world. One of us saw things in black and white and one of us saw them as grey. I don't remember who was what. I think back then I was firmly black and white, it is or isn't. Now, I see a lot of grey. That's how I see you know when you appear in my mind's eye. As a person made up of greys. As a time period in my life that plays out like a colorless silent film. The thing is - that film is always playing silently and I can generally ignore it. And then there are times when it catches my attention and I can't stop watching it, rewinding the same scenes over and over trying to figure out what it all means.
This letter isn't an olive branch. It's not me asking to hear from you. If you somehow see this, don't bother. There's nothing left to be said. There are no questions that I honestly want answered. I just wanted to write this to let it go. It's me trying to stop the movie. Asking the universe to let me free. Purging this energy from my being. This is me using a Pensieve. Pulling these thoughts out of my head and putting them in a shallow magical bowl of water so they leave me alone. It's a writing exercise, a public journal entry, performative theater. I would say I wish you well - but, like I said up there - magic only works on the willing.