After all this time, I’m still unable to construct a wall of emotion to keep you out.
I don’t get it. I don’t like you. I spent years in therapy, workshopping my emotions and going through the phases of anger, grief, and betrayal and working to rebuild my life after our time together.
I hated you for a very long time after what you did to me and what our relationship turned me into. And then I hated myself for letting myself get wrapped up in your garbage.
I’ve come out of all of that hard work with a life I'm proud of and happy in, and yet despite my best efforts to exorcise all of "us" from my psyche, I have resigned myself to the knowledge that my heart will always lurch when I see your name.
I will always break out in a sweat when I hear one of our songs. Even though I have rehearsed every possible scenario for when a mutual friend brings you up, I still falter over what to say when it happens.
After all this time, and all this pain, I’m still unable to construct a wall of emotion to keep you out.
This is not an invitation for you to call me. Lord knows every time you show up in my "Friends You May Know" suggestions, I go into a full existential meltdown for a half hour, wondering why you won’t just block me altogether.
(I’d block you, but then you’d know was thinking about you recently when my comments stop showing up in your Facebook memories, and I do not want you to ever know I’m still thinking about you. Yes, I’ve put too much thought into this. Yes, I realize how crazy this makes me sound.)
Yet, I know that it would only take one text for me to stumble into that rabbit hole of emotion again. You could ruin my month just by casually showing up in my world for even a moment. I hate myself for that.
I don’t wish you any ill will. I’m not still actively angry at you, nor am I still picking apart the pieces of our relationship and all the stupid, awful things I tolerated and what it all meant.
Unfortunately, none of this projected apathy is actually because I don’t care. To my absolute chagrin, my behaviors are all because I still f*cking care too much after all this time, and I don’t know why. I avoid Memory Lane because it is seeded with emotional landmines.
If there’s an event with our old friends and there’s even a chance you’ll attend, I decline the invitation and avoid looking at anyone’s Instagram feed until the dreaded date has passed. I never visit our old stomping grounds without a Xanax in my purse, just in case.
It isn’t a state of perpetual lust or longing, but more this ongoing attachment that keeps me anchored to you in a way I don’t have with anyone else, no matter how much time or distance is between us.
It's this knowledge that, if I learned that you were dying, I would want to come see you one last time. If you needed help and I was somehow the only one who could provide it, I would without hesitation.
If we meet up for coffee in 40 years and you start showing me pictures of your beautiful children and grandchildren, I will be happy for you without any spite. This is how it is, no matter how hard I’ve tried to fight it.
I’m still not ready to stop fighting it, though. I haven’t yet figured out how to learn to live with this peacefully. I still wake up from my monthly dreams of you shaken and frustrated.
But this, obviously, is my problem alone. You’re not to blame for a change.
I suppose there is one thing I can be proud of in all this: When I promised you I’d always love you all those years ago, I never broke my word.