I haven’t been able to come up with a way of explaining the absence. I guess I’m still figuring out where I stand at this particular moment, and what it means to keep going. Many days were lost to the flux of ambiversion, when all I was trying to do was survive the balance of how much space I needed with how much comfort I could only get from others. Suffice it to say, I’ve learned the importance of taking the time just to feel okay, which has mostly involved enjoying the games I’ve put off playing for so long, spending time with those who make me feel wanted+needed+awesome+loved, and drafting as often as possible.
My birthday came somewhere in between, a day I got to pick all the shows, eat dirty bird, and nest with the cats on me when they weren’t in the cuddle train. It made the whole day mine, not because it was something I asked for, but because someone wanted to give that to me.
I’m slowly letting my guard down, letting myself share new songs in the dark, so the positive experiences become a permanent part of me. Making new memories is a step towards soothing my history with heartbreak. The comfort I find in our embraces carries me through the time we’re apart, but feeling safe is still very foreign. Just touching fingers is a vulnerable step, and it’s like being on a tightrope every time I put aside my insecurities to make progress. Thankfully, she hasn’t let me fall yet.
Most recently, I started working at the busiest comic book shop in the city as one of the resident Magic experts. It’s left me trying to find my balance again, even though the job is part-time and never feels like work. The position mostly involves running the tournaments, trading/selling/organizing cards, and giving people game advice; things I already love doing in my spare time. A nice bonus is the fact that a new friend happens to be one of the regulars at the Modern Constructed tourney, and I get to root for him and see how he does between matches.
Shawn even came in to say hi and give me hugs on my first day. Reminders all around that make me feel worthwhile, instead of just believing it. It’s the difference between knowing something in my head to my heart, a gap I’m starting to bridge with help from the right people.
I took a break from guitar. Not a conscious decision, just days that were busy enough that I didn’t think of picking her up, which means I don’t even know how long I’d stopped. All I know is that it was long, cause I feel the strings vibrating through every piece of wood that touches my body now, one of those sensations you stop noticing after enough time.
I haven’t had much to say either. Nothing seems important. At the same time, I’m trying to move away from this social media overload, where so many people speak only cause the power to do makes them believe they should. It’s making the gaps between my entries longer and longer, and I wonder if I’ll eventually stop writing altogether.
All I have are memories of lives I lived so long ago that I feel like I’m watching them in 8mm. The friends and the lovers, the love and the hate, the cycles and the patterns. I’m only now sorting out the meaning of each one, maybe cause I’ve finally grown enough to understand myself and my relationship with the world at large. It’s comforting to see how far I’ve come when comparing the person I am now to each person I used to be.
But such progress came at the cost of my innocence; we aren’t always ready to learn the harder lessons, and surviving sometimes means we change in ways that prevent us from becoming the people we’re meant to be. I’m trying to take back that innocence now, cause I know my happiness is at stake.
Of you, arms up and chest out, body crashing against the surf. Top pulled back into place with each wave, bottoms adjusted as needed. A splash of rain on a flower soon to burgeon.
In that instance I became aware of what was happening in myself. I could look at it clearly, and saw it as it was because it was already there, part of my experience in that moment, for better or for worse. I allowed myself to be exactly as I was without fear or shame. Detached yet present. Mindful to how I’ve longed to feel this for someone again, and how I’ve never fully surrendered myself to it until now. A reason for the lyrics in the awkward smiles, the molto crescendo in every incidental touch.
This is a picture I didn’t take of you, a memory from which I can’t seem to look away. A moment I carry with me to remind myself that I can love again.
I don’t know how to tell my friends about you. What am I supposed to say? That all we shared was some tea and talk and those four hours are reason I still believe in chemistry after all the practical failings of my past relationships? And how do I bring you up, now that it’s been so long I wonder if you even remember me?
Perhaps you wouldn’t be in my mind so often if Green Eyes wasn’t one of my favourite songs. It always takes me back to those days on the mend, when all I had was your brother — singing with a voice like it was soaked in Scotch and left to dry on a line in winter — to give me something new to love. You were the one to give me something to be excited about when it felt like nothing mattered anymore, and just as much became an inextricable part of that time.
That’s why I haven’t forgotten you. That’s why I never will.
I can still see the cavalier way you’d toss your curly hair over your head every now and then, as if you were perpetually deciding how best to wear it. I’ve come to appreciate that kind of casual comeliness, and the fact that you were so unaware of it made it all the more endearing.
We were supposed to start a band of our own. I’d pick up keyboard or cello if you wanted to stick with guitar, we’d do covers of Andrew Vincent, open for house shows, and get signed to Kelp some day. Instead, all I have is a picture of you dancing at the Raw Sugar, and what if forever on my lips.
I may hardly know you, but the truth is I miss you. I still want you in my life. I want to know where you’ve been and who you’ve loved, what you’re dancing to and how else your creativity has taken form. But all I can do is wonder if our paths will ever cross again.
That little furrow was there because you weren’t. That’s why you never saw it, of course. You must think I hate you cause it was the only thing I couldn’t help her with myself. But I could never hate you. You gave her what she wanted. In the end, that’s all I really wanted too.
I knew it was serious when I saw your umbrella under her bed, back when she hid those kinds of things for my sake. You never realized she only took it as an excuse to see you again (not because she was particularly scared of getting her merino socks wet), the same way you never realized how easy it all was for you. That was a sign that you were the right one. I knew it before she did.
If only there was a bit of mystery left in you. Instead, I had you pegged by the second night, and all I can tell people is that you’re a nice guy, when I want to say you’re an artist, a lover, a fighter, a worthy rival, a slayer of insecurities, a breaker of barriers, a testament to testosterone, a hero among men. She deserves more than the painfully pedestrian life you’ve given her, but I know she’s had enough of heartbreak to think that normal is hard enough to come by. And so I’ve learned that a person’s happiness is all that matters, not the dreams you have for them. I guess it’s hard to give up those dreams when you’re part of them yourself.
I want to say I’m leaving for some noble reason of great importance, but it’s really because there’s nothing left for me in this little town. I used to believe I could escape; eventually I realized you can’t outrun your memories. Now I’m just trying to figure out where I belong. She was all I knew for so long, and now that life is gone.
And so I must tread carefully with new lovers; it’s impossible for me to tell my story without that part of my past. That’s why I wonder what she told you about me, about us. About losing feeling in her face and letters you wouldn’t know how to write. If she intentionally left anything out, or whether our time was even worth mentioning. But the past is still the past, and that’s the only reason I can write a letter now to the man who saved her without ever knowing it.