We used to gaze at each other for hours, lit by curiosity and liquid crystal.
Forgive me for bringing this up so suddenly. I know it’s been a while.
It’s just that tonight on the drive home I got to thinking about the times we shared, and how I discovered so much of myself through you, with you. And how much I pine for those days. They were simpler. We were learning so much so quickly about each other that, looking back, our break was inevitable. How could we have been prepared?
I didn’t realize it was over until it had been for some time. I had a baby and took a new job and you busied yourself with your own evolution. It’s fine. It’s not my fault and it’s not yours. It just happened.
I ached for you in ways that weren’t even obvious to me at first. There was a void where you used to bring me things. Not necessarily valuable things; I am not the kind of gal who’s swayed by shiny things (although bring me a tacky costume ring that glints in the sunlight and I might love you for life because I am forever a 7-year-old girl at the fair). It was the ideas and concepts you used to bring me that I missed the most. Where had they gone? They were still out there, sure, but they just didn’t find their way to me through you as easily anymore. So I walked around not knowing about amazing things, all the time. Can you imagine? Awful.
Remember how we would stay up all night gazing at each other and sharing ideas? You’d watch me sip cheap wine and I’d become looser with my words and in fits of courage and stupidity say things to you that I’d sometimes regret the next morning. Nothing necessarily hurtful, just silly things only vocalized by the comfortable and inebriated. You made me feel so free back then. You encouraged me to write ambiguously worded open letters to inanimate objects. You never interrupted, you rarely judged (or at least didn’t tell me if you did), and you made me feel heard and understood. I have never forgotten that. Although I have forgotten how to be that. I try sometimes. The shoes fit weird these days, for so many reasons.
Anyway, I know this is probably embarrassing you. You thought the past was buried and that we had moved on to bigger, brighter things. You’re all over the place now, even more so than before. Even harder to pin down. That’s OK; you don’t have to feel bad about it. It’s for the best; you are (should be) a force for good and I am trying to not be selfish by wanting to keep you the way you were before, when it felt like you were made for me.
Internet, I have missed you so fucking much but nothing is the same. Do you realize that this time 10 years ago, our parents and employers were not even allowed on Facebook? Do you remember? That was like some kind of golden age, lost to legend and a hundred thousand Farmville requests now. Do you remember you and me, how we used to just shoot the shit about nothing but, through our silliness, open up so many slices of the world to examine, one by one? We had this really intense thing for so long and now I have to work up liquid courage to even talk to you on a level that is not completely superficial. I am awkward around you and unsure of myself. I’m in middle school again, except I’ve got the cynical conscience of a thirtysomething constantly hissing “What is the point???” to everything I try to say to you.
Ah, there it is. You just recoiled a little bit. It was subtle — you’re not trying to hurt my feelings — but I saw it. I know, I’m making you uncomfortable and being a little clingy and overly nostalgic. I think maybe you used to like that about me because it showed my sincerity, when I would get so overeager about memory and meaning. It’s true; when I find something I like, or even something I don’t like, I can get a little too excited. Can you queue up that scene from “Tommy Boy” where he kills his sale? Awesome, thanks! You have always been so good at that. Anyway. Emotionally, I am Tommy Boy. It’s funny because it’s true.
So, none of this is meant to make you feel bad for how things have turned out. I’m not asking you to change, and I’m not begging for our old relationship back. I’ve changed, you’ve changed. The whole world has changed. I just wanted you to know that I haven’t forgotten the way things were. And as old and sad as it makes me feel, I wish I could get that time back, when it was just you and me figuring things out and being silly in the middle of the night. With no fear.