to email@example.com/11/2015 10:54 pm
I miss you when it’s most inconvenient. That’s what she thought. When there was a paper or a boy or a night lying on the cold hard bleachers holding a cold hard beer watching the cold hard stars. That’s when I miss you, she thought. She wondered if she could talk to this boy about you enough until he fell in love with you instead of her. That seemed to be the general trend. Maybe her love for you was an infection she would spread until all the people she loved would love you instead. That wouldn’t be so bad. All the people she loved should know the best love. That’s what I would want for them, yes, she thought.
And she missed you when it was most inconvenient. In the middle of the Halloween dance she realized she was looking for your face and all she saw were imposters. In the middle of the Halloween dance she looked up at the lights and blinked and swallowed hard. She wiped electricity off her cheek and sat outside watching the sprinklers turn and return and turn and return until the boy (the one she needed, not the one she wanted) wrapped her electricity in his outgrown warmth and told her that she could keep it. It was nice, she thought, but she would have preferred to be inside with you. You would hate the dance as much as I do, she thought. But if I were with you, I would have loved the dance. Isn’t it funny like that.
to firstname.lastname@example.org/11/2015 2:51 am
“A different kind of beautiful” she says in the caption of an instagram post “(Such a good day in the city with my city people).” It’s the silhouette of two people. You know one of them is her, but you have no idea who the other is. One of her city people most likely. You stare at the photo for longer than you should. For some reason the repetition of the word city seems striking, as though it’s written in the lights stretching out in front of her and her city people. The word city makes you think, momentarily, of that song your boyfriend keeps singing in the car. Ever since I left the city, you started wearin’ less and goin’ out more. You don’t want to be thinking about him now. You don’t want to be thinking about her city or her city people or her different kind of beautiful. You only want the kind of beautiful you found with her. You only want to be sitting in her room rewinded to before the day she packed up her life, or in her kitchen before that night with the alfajores when you were fucked up, or by her side on stage during the scariest moment of your life, or in your car with her in the passenger seat.
She wrote a letter to you the other day and you read it during art class. You can’t pretend you didn’t know it would make you cry. Everything makes you cry these days. I think you wanted to cry in the middle of art class over her not being there. I think you wanted to hide in the back seat of your car to sob in peace. You wanted to feel like she could still affect you here, two borders away. You wanted to read about how you were maybe more important than her city people. You wanted to be more important.
You were worried that maybe you wouldn’t cry. Sometimes you don’t when you feel like you should and that scares you more. You were worried that you would let yourself drift apart from her. And you did. And you were worried that she would make you confront that fact. And she did. And you are still worried. And you are still crying. And you still love her, even if she is a different kind of beautiful, in a different city, with different people.
to email@example.com/11/2015 3:03 pm
When you say fucked up you never mean fucked up in the way she means fucked up. Her English teacher spent a lot of time talking about the blur of humanity around words. How a word like “oaken” in English never means just made of oak, how it means solid sophisticated unchanging formal. Apparently, Ford Madox Ford and Joseph Conrad prefer French: where a word is just a word not Monet-ified. Ford Madox Ford and Joseph Conrad wrote all their works in English.
She thinks she is a Ford, or maybe a Conrad. She wants to want to live in the geometry of French, she wants to want clarity but she needs to live in the blur.
to firstname.lastname@example.org/11/2015 9:17 pm
You cry every time you write about her. And you cry every time the sunsets on your drive home. And you cry every time just the right song comes on in the car. And you cry every time you realize that you love him. And you cry every time it’s been too long since you’ve heard her voice. You know you will cry when you see her face again.
You thought maybe this would be your year of independence. You thought this would be the year you would read more and take baths more and finally want to write in the first person and you thought you would love it. You thought you would be able to write poems that weren’t influenced by her. You thought you wouldn’t cry all the time. You thought things would sharply realign. You thought you would see her face more often. You forgot how early the sun sets this time of winter. You forgot how the air makes your skin crack. You forgot what her voice sounded like at one point, at least the specifics of it.
to email@example.com/11/2015 10:10 pm
You are trying to learn how to play the guitar. It is an attempt to stop the decay of brain connections you read about that happens when you’re eighteen. When you try to tune the guitar and nothing comes out sounding quite right and you can’t even begin to fathom how chords or notes add up to get anything other than random sound. You think of her in these moments. It’s not frustration exactly, but kind of a glimpse into this other way of existing you’ve never tried before. You wonder how many hours she spent hunched over her piano until this felt like a part of her. You wonder if it could ever be a part of you.
to firstname.lastname@example.org/11/2015 11:30 pm
She needs to live in this realm where she doesn’t really know what she means when she says “fucked up.” Where fucked up could maybe be a temporary state and not an inherent quality she has. Here, she is always fucked up. She is drunk and when she is not drunk she is wishing she is drunk and in that way she is always fucked up. She doesn’t want to talk about the other ways.
Her English professor asks her if she wants to say something. She wants to tell him that she is living in the blur and that all of her memories of you are a blur of colors around your name. She sees you as black and white and red lipstick. Tight blue jeans. Loose striped shirt sloped over your favorite lace bralette. You, watching French movies, you, on your soft comforter among the sharp lines of your house. You, as the person she sees most clearly, you, as the greatest blur.
to email@example.com/11/2015 3:10 pm
When did I become we? She wonders this often. In every relationship she ever had she could never be part of that singular unit but somehow the car rides and the Spanglish and the poetry had molded them together into one “we.” She thinks that maybe we are the royal we. Kickass feminist royalty: if Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary had been best friends.
She finds herself saying “we” less and less now, only when he asks about her high school and it is then when she realizes that “we” is a memory.
She worries about you more than she worries about herself. She worries you need time outside of this “we” state. States remind her of quantum mechanics. It seems like everything reminds her of quantum mechanics even though she knows nothing is quite like quantum mechanics.
She imagines them as two electrons put through a Stern Gerloch device of together. Of course they have the same spin state. They were aligned perfectly. She puts them through a Stern Gerloch Device measuring their apart spin state. Put them back through the together Stern Gerloch Device. How do you measure the probability that they will have the same spin state again?
If she doesn’t measure the apart spin state, then she knows that the together spin state will be what it was originally: the same. And that’s what she wants. To have the same alignment as you. But it’s so tempting to observe her state away from you. She wonders if she can risk the probabilities. She wonders how different it would be to be in another state. She sees that she is already in another state.
to firstname.lastname@example.org/11/2015 2:52 am
She tells you that she is worried about you, and you don’t blame her. You have given her plenty of cause for worry. You want to tell her that you are not worried though. That statement is a lie, but you are not worried about what she is worried about. You are worried you will not survive what she did. That you will not survive breaking up with the boy she broke up with. That you will not survive leaving the town she left. That you will not survive on your own in the world she is on her own in. But she knows you will survive these things. She is worried about other things that do not concern you. You listen to the rain tapping on the metal roof of your house and realize that even though you wanted to hear her voice more than anything else in that moment, you needed to be in silence. You know realize that you need to feel separate from any statement of “we” for a little while.
to email@example.com/11/2015 6:23 am
She wants to call you at 3 am.
3 am isn’t just after her conversation with one who was once the one. It’s exactly an hour afterwards, after she’s walked up the stairs, every synonym for tired you can name, after she’s told some people who have never met him but who know enough of him that yes, everything went well, yes, she couldn’t have asked for a better conversation (ext. circumstances excluded), yes, she was okay, she was okay, after she drew her graph of the day on the whiteboard measuring her current emotional state (40% relieved, 20% in shock, 5% in denial, 35% happy), after she sang rivers and roads in the shower. That’s when she wants to call you.
She wants to call you. She doesn’t want to sit and do math. She doesn’t want to read. She doesn’t want to think about boys who do math and read. She doesn’t want to think about boys who were once upon a time. She wants to hear your voice, or at least, your groggy morning mumble.
Whenever she slept over she would always wake up before you and watch the sunrise and sit and think until you got up and ate breakfast with her. She is okay with waiting. But here is what she wants to tell you:
Seeing him was more heartbreaking than telling him.
Seeing him made her miss seeing you.
Telling him felt like being in the eye of a tornado.
Telling him after his mom told him was unexpected.
She wants to call you. She won’t though. She is the one who keeps telling you to get more sleep. She is the one who’s supposed to know what she’s doing. She is the one who’s supposed to be surviving to prove that you can too.
She wants to tell you that she’s happy. She’s crying. She loves him. In so many different ways. She loves you. In so many different ways. She’s happy. She’s crying. She’s happy.
to firstname.lastname@example.org/11/2015 2:01 am
You are somewhat surprised that she heeded your advice, she never did all those times before when you told her the exact same thing. Her reasoning this time is different though. That part makes sense. In the past, it was always about hope. Now it’s about circumstance and necessity.
to email@example.com/11/2015 3:15 am
She doesn’t feel like she’s replacing you, only little parts. She remembers the dance parties with the one who was once her best friend and seeing them consciously transform into memories and thinking that she could never replace the moment you held a boombox on a dock, the wind swirling through your curly hair, only moments after he had left them inside a secondhand shop. He who was then not yet hers who is no longer hers who is now yours. She thinks of you going back to the secondhand shop.
She hears a lot of foreign tongues in place of the familiar. Poetry in Hong Kong. Boys in Paris. Comfort in LA. Nights in San Francisco. Walks in New York. Drinks and dinner in Chicago.
All things she has dreamt of; floaty fantasy foundations. Perhaps dream is not the right word, she only wanted these things when people reminded her that they were things she should want. She only needed these things when she began to have them.
Now that she has them she realizes that she has finally put together these puzzle pieces into something that is becoming her home.
She is acclimating. She is wearing sweaters in sixty degrees weather. She is seeing the desert as beautiful. She is staying up late. She is shaving her head. She is drinking Coronas. She is not replacing you because she is doing things she didn’t do with you. She is not replacing you because she has broken up the starlight with you into bits of glitter that stick to her friends’ hands. She is not replacing you because she doesn’t know how to. She is replacing her.
to firstname.lastname@example.org/11/2015 3:15 am
You feel like you fucked up. She says it’s fine but you haven’t been able to look her in the eyes since she left so you can’t really tell. You feel like you can’t fix it this time, and even if you could, you aren’t sure you would want to. You can’t tell if you are crying all the time because of your birth control or because you miss her or because being in love scares the shit out of you, and they all seem equally likely. You hate that you can’t talk to her about him because it’s difficult for her. You hate when he starts talking about her and tells you he misses her because that’s your job. When he told you he wasn’t over her, you were only a little bit upset because you knew that you would never be over her. You hate how it feels like you can only fully have one of them. How it feels like you had to give up a part of her to be with him. You never wanted to give up a part of her. But there’s no going back now.
to email@example.com/11/2015 12:54 pm
you say he’s better now. Sometimes she feels like a disease.
to firstname.lastname@example.org/11/2015 12:11 am
She tells you to stop pretending you can understand her. She tells you that you never will, never can. You are in the middle of telling him that a large part of your friendship with her was that you always understood what the other person was going through, that you went through life in the same way. She tells you that maybe in a year or so’s time you will partially, kind of, a little bit understand what she’s feeling. But she tells you that you shouldn’t try to empathize with her unless you have been there.
You never meant that you had lived her life, that you had experienced what she is experiencing. You’ve never been her, and you never will be her. You will never be anyone but yourself. You will never understand anyone but yourself. You thought you understood her, if anyone.
You hate that she thinks you are belittling her experience. You never thought that wanting to connect with her would push you farther away. She knows understanding is important to you. But she wants you to understand that it will never be possible between the two of you again. That it is impossible.
You say ‘I understand’ to someone, and catch yourself. You can’t think of what to say.
to email@example.com/11/2015 1:46 am
Why do you refer to your friendship in the past tense now? When she told him how she felt, everything felt the same. When she told you how she felt, everything changed. It seems like the only place they can be honest with each other is when they’re not actually with each other. She doesn’t want to see your face because she knows she won’t know it.
She wrote him a drunk letter about people. Specifically, “his” people and “her” people. She wrote to him asking if “his people” were the people he could tell everything to, or if there are different criteria. That’s how she measured her people. And now that she’s told him, he’s officially part of “her people.” She doesn’t know if she can tell everything to you now. She feels herself censoring herself in her journal because she’s going to send it to you and you deserve her uncensored.
Love is supposed to bring people together, not tear them apart. She doesn’t want to keep thinking your love is wrong. But it’s wrong for them. It’s wrong for them.
to firstname.lastname@example.org/12/2015 6:52 pm
it is not that she is always thinking of you. it is that you are lurking in the