God, it’s been how long now? Eight years? Ten? Why am I even writing this?
Because every once in a while your face still haunts my dreams. Last night I saw you in a crowd. Our eyes met as I walked by. We exchanged a knowing half-smile. I woke up thinking about you.
Do you still think about me once in a while? Do you remember anything of our time together? That ‘every once in a while’ I mentioned is actually more often then I would like to admit. And then I start thinking – where are you now? I don’t even know what city you live in, what job you wound up with, if you’re seeing someone, if you’re married.
And I wonder why I care.
You hurt me. And because of you I hurt someone else and almost lost the best thing in my life. Did you know that the teenage boy I left to be with you took me back and gave me a second chance? Did you know we finished growing up together (or at least that we figured out how to pretend to be adults together), that we got married, that we have a gorgeous house and two wonderful children? Do you care?
You hurt me. You broke up with me over the phone. You told me you weren’t ready for commitments and relationships, but a few weeks later you were dating a girl three years younger than you. You told me I cared too much. How is that even possible? But it made me doubt myself, it hurt me, and when you’re breaking up with someone I guess that’s the whole point, isn’t it?
A little while later I came to your birthday party and played pool with your mom and beat you in a chugging race. We went for that walk because you needed a smoke break (did you ever manage to quit or do you still tell girls “I want to but it’s so hard” so they’ll feel bad and try to fix you?) and we talked about what went wrong. You couldn’t deal with my religion and my planning for the future, I couldn’t deal with you lying all the time and smoking. It never would have worked.
How is your mom? And your brother? I missed them for a lot longer than I missed you. Do you still have that painting I made for you? The shading on that dragon was one of the best I’d ever done. Does your mom still have that painting I made her for Christmas? The one of the cows being abducted? I thought a lot about getting those back when we broke up but a gift is a gift. Sometimes I wish I could remember your step-father’s last name so I could try to find your mom and try to be friends with her. But that would be creepy, and she probably doesn’t remember me. You brought a lot of girls home after all.
Does she remember who painted that canvas or did she throw it away? Does she remember the girl who played pool and could chug a drink faster than her son? Does she remember the girl who drove her son home after a date and stayed to have coffee with her? Probably not.
Maybe it’s just my writers’ mind, storing all these details and making me seem like a stalker or an obsessed teenage girl. I would forgot if I could but apparently that’s not an option.
Do you remember me? Do you wonder what happened to me? Did you know I got married? Did anyone tell you I published my first novel, and my second? That I followed my dream and achieved it when you gave up on it as soon as we broke up? Did you know that I wrote poems about you?
Did you know that for a while I named every bad guy after you? I edited the names when I went to publish the stories, of course, but some of those bad guys are you. That’s how a writer copes I guess.
We were wrong for each other. We would never have worked. I can think about ANY part of our relationship without emotion. I am over you. But sometimes you hover in my mind and I wonder if I ever haunt your dreams – that red-headed writer in thigh high socks and velvet skirts who liked scary movies and all your music.