Author’s note: Admittedly, I wrote this a little over a year ago. I’m very curious in how thought processes around anything (particularly relationships, romance and love of course) evolve, how we can feel one way, then feel another. How we both embody our feelings in the moment, but then eventually choose not to remember them. In that line of thinking, I had the thought “No one is asking you to forget; they’re asking you not to remember,” as I worked on this piece. It’s so taboo to air our old emotions, and it’s such a curious thing. While this piece isn’t part of my current headspace, it is rather indicative of where I was maybe the day we posted the Kickstarter video for 50/50, and I think speaks to the larger interest of the things we tell ourselves to deal with the moments that we can’t control – most notably, by attempting to gain some sort of control and assert omnipotent knowledge.
This is how you will unravel your own heart: first, you will breakup with me. It will be a quiet breakup, no fireworks or firecrackers or even a sparkler. Instead I’ll know it’s coming but refuse to believe it, and you’ll sigh and bring it up while pretending we’re on a normal date, taking a walk around the lake that normally feels like a pond but today may as well be the freaking Mediterranean. By the end of the walk, we’re not together anymore. You apologize. Again. And again. And I’ll keep rewinding the last hour, wishing I’d never suggested a walk but knowing rationally that no matter what we decided to do this evening, it was going to end with the end of you and me.
It won’t kill you not talk to me, despite the fact that during the breakup you kept remembering stories and facts and science you wanted to discuss which you brought up while I responded with dew on my cheeks. Just watering the roses, don’t mind me. I’ll consider emailing you when I hear a good Admiral Ackbar joke, or when I learn about the Boston Molasses Disaster. I’ll want to call you when I quit my job and when I have to drive myself to the ER. But you’re not calling me, or texting me, or liking my Instagram photos so I know you’re not interested in hearing the minutia of my mind or relive the follies of my day.
And I’ll start to move on. Or at least, I’ll pretend to. I’ll go back to online dating (because I meet people like you there) and start corresponding with boys and girls who don’t have my attention at first, but will slowly start to. I’ll stop seeing wistfulness in the faces of strangers on the sidewalk and see instead contentment. And then I’ll see you on the dating site, and I’ll wonder what the protocol is. As much as I want to think fondly of you, I still miss the way you made up silly songs about your cat and as much as it’d be nice for someone else to enjoy those songs…I’m not sure I want to imagine it just yet. I persevere.
But you. Poor you. You’ll cautiously reach your feelers out over the internet to strangers, making dates for coffee and tea, for breakfast and shows, for a drink at a tiki bar you hate but agree to go to. You’ll break some dates. You’ll go on others. You’ll stop messaging girls back not because you mean to make them cry but because there’s a quicksand pit in your heart that doesn’t allow you to let anyone in. Instead they fall through you, coming out the other side of your ribcage before they knew they might have a chance to be inside.
No matter what you do, your heart is never able to hold onto anyone. Which leads to contemplation, doodles, and hours taking time-lapse photography while you wonder if the problem is them or yourself. And only then do you realize the problem isn’t either of the two; wherein lies what ails your heart is an outsider you already asked to fly away from you. And you’ll sit – four, five, eight months later – at a family dinner where your married sister and dating brothers all have someone they can’t take their eyes off of within arms reach. Maybe you brought your latest date with you but she’s already past your ribcage and the room seems interminably large (and oh my, is it expanding?), making sure you stay far, far, far away from me. I wouldn’t want a heart such as yours sucking me down, too.
Someone told me I should post a link to this song. So…for that someone, I have.