THE CHALLENGE: My friends gave me a subject, a line, a word or an idea and I agreed to write about it for exactly one hour. Stream of consciousness. Unedited.
…And whether it is finished or not, I post it.
…It’s a slow day at work.
I couldn’t rationalize how we had suddenly become so rational.
There was a time when we were so entwined I couldn’t tell what was yours and –
I didn’t think you’d need convincing. That’d I’d be telling you the story of us the way I would paint exposition and justification for a stranger — singing our song for the very first time. Clumsy. Unfamiliar. The notes in all the wrong places and running to catch the down beat.
You were the composer of the sonata my heart danced to for what easily could’ve been the rest of my life. It played on and on and on… I twirled and swung myself freely and unsuspectingly as I fell deeper and deeper in-
the darkness. I couldn’t see myself anymore in the murky water. Water that told me everything was fine. Water that sustained the buoyancy of fantasies, resisting my attempts to dive… bobbing, bobbing along the surface. Flat. Superficial. Bobbing up and down with the waves that tried to warn me of the approaching storm… but I kept my eyes focused on the endless sky; never mind there was no foundation beneath me. I didn’t even notice I couldn’t swim.
I’ve shamelessly poured over pictures of you. Refusing any refuge from the torture of missing you. I want to romanticize this by creating an image of a girl, bed head and mascara-tinted tears, holding a Polaroid of us laughing together… but this, unfortunately, will not satiate my hungry nostalgia for the 1990s… no matter how comfortable I am sitting in my over-sized flannel and angst.
No, I poured ((clicked)) over pictures of you on an overly illuminated screen, hunched over in a perfect “C”, like The Thinker… calcifying into my torment.
I wasn’t allowed to hang on to any part of you. Even our memories were intangible.
Photos obstructed by the daily pile of the social media feed, conversations only accessible through Wi-Fi, declarations of admiration lived in code… numbers. 1s and 0s arranged to convey how indescribable, unbelievable, larger than life I felt when I was with you.
It was a matrix. It’s all formulaic, isn’t it? A pattern performed with each new coupling as we repeat the script:
“I’ve never felt this way before.”
“You mean so much to me.”
“There’s nowhere else I’d rather be.”
“I love you.”
It wasn’t malicious. We were lying to ourselves more than one another. Somewhere in between the definition of insanity ((doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results)) and the proverb for perseverance ((if at first you don’t succeed…)) lived The Lovers. Us. Once. We tried to navigate a path in the thicket of our addiction to companionship and the deep desire to validate self worth.
Identity. You are so sure of what that is and so brilliantly embodied in it.
…I still wonder who I am when you aren’t looking. I wonder what I’ll say when no one is listening.
There was no evidence of our time together. These moments when I felt the most high and alive, and the most dejected and worthless. This time that shook up my entire being, my humanity and made me question my perception. My favorite memories. My most-requested dream. Sure, a movie ticket stub here, a tee-shirt there… We didn’t think about the inevitable end. I didn’t know it was inevitable….
I “liked” your photo the other day. Did you notice my attempt to embrace you from the screen that now holds the attention I once bathed in abundance?
Knowing that you know and never knowing why it’s still “no”, the conundrum teases me in another cyber-bender as I investigate how you could possibly be living undisturbed You were ever-present and now completely absent. I’m going through disturbing withdrawals and itching for just a taste of you.
My skin becomes white, translucent. My heart atrophies. How long has it been since I’ve been in the sun? I’m nauseated, unmotivated, nearly-lifeless. Pathetic.
So we un-tag. Block. Delete. Unfriend. Remove from sight-lines and timelines.
- But you’re still there. Going viral in my memories. Tagging yourself in my empty bed. Commenting on my dreams. Liking my sunny days. Placing a filter on my rainy ones. You post my loneliness. You liter my profile with heartache. You’re trending in my empty bed.
How did we go from one, singular unit to these separate entities? You were mine. You ripped yourself from me so violently, I think I could still see pieces of my flesh hanging off of you. I’m raw. Exposed bone, muscle and sinew. I’m open sores and pulsating scabs.
Swipe your hard drive clean, and there is no trace of me left. I was your prized possession, your new, shiny, beautiful display and limitless possibility. Now, tossed away with the rest of the e-trash. Too big, bulky, awkward, irrelevant, slow, useless, aggravating, outdated…. collecting dust. I won’t even turn on anymore.
I can’t illuminate.
I become background scenery in a dirty city-scape. Unnoticed. I am unrecognizable in the ever growing pile; equally mundane and dull. My colors fade into an indifferent gray. Lifeless.
…until, one day, I become a nostalgic joke.