...Plays Guitar by Gillicuddy
Gave myself till Valentine's Day. And we decided to be friends on the 13th.
Cutting it a little close, weren't we?
You have no idea how anxious I was in the days leading up to our plans. And then strangely, on the day, I wasn't nervous at all. When we were texting, before you got here, I remembered what became even more clear when you walked through my door - you make me so comfortable. That's why the boundaries get so blurry. You set me so at ease that it feels natural to talk more, sit closer, be vulnerable.
Since that evening, my brain has relieved every encounter we've ever had, running through the whole thing 3 or 4 times. It's run disaster scenarios followed by romantic comedy scripts. And if I've learned anything from my experiences, it's that the more I question whether or not I love someone, the likelier it is that I do.
The winning moment, though, the thing that convinced me we might actually be able to pull off this friendship thing, was the moment when you said you had to go. And I said, yeah (sadly). And you asked if I was okay. You said, "Don't want to be alone?" And I realized - you get it. You get...me. A point proved by the conversation we had in the car, when I was talking about what my friends mean to me. You said you wished you felt that way more.
Well, music man, know this - I'm in your corner. I have a feeling that being friends with you is going to be one of the easiest and one of the hardest things I've ever done. Saying goodbye was so hard. But if I can make you happy for even a minute, if I can make your life 0.1% better...
My friends are my chosen family. So I guess that means...I do choose you.
I gave myself till Valentine's Day to get over it. Just over 3 weeks to go and it's not looking good. The thing is, if I got to choose, I wouldn't have chosen her - she was beautiful and talented and loved me (I think) but she was unreliable and emotionally distant and lied to me. And I might have chosen you if circumstances were different - if we'd met in high school, if we'd met in any circumstance other than how we did, we might have been best friends - but the way things are, I never would. But I don't get to choose.
I don't get to choose the way my heart and my mind race and leap. We lob jokes back and forth and I can't help but smile. You send me off to school saying, "Be keen," and I swoon. (Who uses the word keen? You do.) And I can't choose not to be friends because that's like choosing not to eat, not to breathe - it only lasts so long.
I'll try. I will. It's just that I feel like I have to hide my heart from you, from everyone. And as a hopeless romantic who wears her heart on her sleeve, that's hard. It's so hard."mind, stop running / it's time we just let this thing go / it was a pretty good bad idea, wasn't it though?"
Do you think I've learned the lesson now? A letter on my doorstep and an hour's worth of tears. Do you think I have learned the lesson?
What lesson do you think I have learned?
For my part, I think the lesson is that I do not love others as well as they deserve.
And moreover, that people are not pearls, or diamonds, or gold. People are people. And it is a treacherous thing to believe otherwise.
Do you believe that I'm sorry?
"Doubt thou the stars are fire..."
I've stopped writing about her. She has become my great story. A lost soulmate, a year of heartache, a box of letters from when she loved me.
But now I'm writing about you.
I shouldn't. I feel certain that I am breaking some rule. You don't belong to me. You belong to someone I love, and before that, you belonged to someone who is now lost. And yet, I can't help but feel that there is...something. I'm not good with feelings, as hard as I try. Lines between platonic and romantic, intimate enough and too far...these are blurry, and bending, and I can never be certain when I've crossed them.
Here is what I am certain of. I want my friend to be happy. She is my family and I love her and I want her to be happy. You make her happy. And I'm starting to think of you as family too. So I hope we will be friends, and I hope you don't go away, and I will never tell you about these things I think I feel.
He wrapped my comics in white, plastic grocery bags. Wrapped the bags with red duct tape.
At least, you said that your dad would drop them off. My name was written in gold sharpie on the tape. It didn't look like his handwriting, even in block letters.
It looked like yours.
Or maybe I just wanted it to.
I was heartbroken. Then joyous. Then mournful. I'm not sure where I'm at now.
I think now I just miss you. Or I miss who you were. Or maybe I miss who I was with you.
I've entered the idealizing the memories phase. We weren't perfect, I know. But I want to go back all the same.
I want to go back.
Back on that day we flew kites, Nancy and Sharmaine invited me to come to Victoria with them and Soobean. The ferry prices are half off this week. I couldn't go, in the end, and besides, I would have been a third wheel. I'm not close with Shivani or Ashley or Ami.
"But you can go visit Pegg!"
I don't know that you would want to see me. Since my attempts at communication have produced no conversation, the letter I send may be our last chance.
You posted an instagram picture of the three girls, that's why I'm thinking about it. I'm hurt. Maybe we're done. In which case, I will hurt for a long, long time.I still dream about Graham sometimes, and it's been more than two years.
Your letter came today. I've been waiting for it for a while. I was still holding out hope that my best friend was going to write me, was going to explain everything. Instead it's this new you, starting from scratch.
I suppose that's what we're doing. If we're not ending, we're starting over. I'm not sure how to proceed. I want to be closer than you'll allow me to be. I don't want to be hurt again.
I don't know how to be unselfish. I don't know if I can put your happiness ahead of mine. I don't know if or how I can stop wanting more. I guess I'll figure it out. Or I won't.
I'm left wondering whether you meant the things you said. I'm left with letters and words that say so much and prove nothing. Did you change? Did you lie? Would you cry for me?
I don't know if we can be friends. I don't know if I could stand the distance between us now after being so close. Talking to you feels like picking a scab. Maybe I just have to wait for things to scar over. Will I regret this scar, or wear it proudly?
You have no need for me. Therefore, I withdraw. And I needed you once, but not in your present condition. Presently, you are a stranger. I need my partner - but she's gone.
Hey, wait. Hang on for one minute. I'd like to to talk to you.
Lately...I've been thinking about us. I've been trying to sort out what I've been feeling and figure out if I'm being irrational or what.
Remember how we had all these plans for the summer? There was all this stuff we were going to do. You were going to come back to Ridge - and you weren't thrilled, but you wanted to see me...But we haven't seen each other. We've hardly seen each other.
And I hated the way you talked about coming back here, like it was some terrible burden to come back. And not just because your friends and family are here. I know you don't always get along with your family, and you weren't sure what it was going to be like, living with them after living alone. But you talked about the town like it's this horrible trap. And this is my home. And it hurt to hear you talk about it like that.
But I was so glad that you were back. And I felt glad, at first. It felt like this huge fucking privilege that I got to see you in person, even twice in one week!
But then there were these long stretches where we didn't see each other. And we didn't talk or text or whatever. Like we didn't need to because we were in the same city. But I missed that, I missed talking all the time and being guaranteed time with you once a week, even though it was just video.
I tried to convince myself like it was good. I mean, I have other friends. And I had missed everyone terribly. That day when I ran into Nancy and Sharmaine and then we saw Mickey, I was ready to burst into tears I was so happy. And seeing more of Tamara has been so wonderful. So I thought, this is good, I've been away at school and Emily's the only one I've talked to, so it's good that I get to connect with everyone else.
But it's stopped feeling like that. And I always remind myself not to make snap decisions based on a week or two, but I found a journal entry from the beginning of May. And I was unhappy then.
I was jealous. Of what, I don't know, of...the rest of your life. You were busy. Job hunting and apartment hunting and spending some time with Soph and Naomi. Busy with art. And I told myself it was fine that you were busy, but it wasn't fine. Because I always made time for you. I would text back even at times when I was in the middle of something, and I would rearrange my schedule around our plans. Becuase I wanted to spend all of my spare seconds with you. I'm better with you. I'm better when I know we're good. It makes me feel balanced and centered. And not knowing where we stand throws my whole world off kilter.
I like our friendship. I like that we treated it like a partnership. That's how I thought of it. I know everyone teases us about being girlfriends or married or whatever, but this was a partnership to me. And I needed you. And I wanted to feel needed.
I don't think you need a partner though. I don't know if you want one. You're so independent. You're fine on your own, you're complete. And that's great, Em, it really is. It's something you should be proud of. But I feel like there isn't space for me in your life. At least, not as much space as I would like.
Maybe I want too much. You always worried we were unbalanced, and I knew that we were. But I think you were worried that I had more love or showed more love, and I don't know that that's true. What is true is that we're unbalanced in terms of what we want. I don't think we want the same things. I don't think you want someone to talk to 24/7 and be around all the time. You don't act like it, at least.
I try to include you in things. I tried during Eurovision. And I suggested coffee, and then I suggested a Cap tour, and I kept feeling like it was your turn. But you didn't step up to bat. And it's hard for me to keep pushing and texting first and making plans. It's hard for me. And you know what my mom said recently? She said that if I wanted to see you so badly, I should just drop by your house. And I knew that I couldn't. Because what if you weren't there? Or worse, what if you were there, and you didn't have time to see me? What if you didn't want to see me? I didn't want to risk that kind of rejection. No risk, no reward, sure, but I just couldn't.
You make a lot of tiny promises, you know. They're not even quite promises, just little things that you say. Stuff like, "I'll text you later tonight, or tomorrow" or "I'll ask my mom if we have plans this weekend" or "your letter should be in the mail this week". And you don't text, and you don't get back to me about plans, and the letter doesn't get sent. And it just creates all these little hairline fractures in my heart, weakens the structure, and one day it's just going to break. One day you're going to break my heart and it's not going to surprise me because I've been waiting for you to do it for our whole friendship.
I always thought that I could get close to you, that we could have the friendship I wanted to have. You seemed so close with Skyler - so affectionate, and like you spent all this time together. And I wanted someone like that. And we did get closer, but I never lost the insecure feeling that I had that you would just walk away one day, or get bored, or back out. That feeling didn't go away. I did all I could do on my end.
And I guess I made this realization recently. See, I was telling myself for a long time that I didn't have any right to feel the way that I feel. Because you're not really my girlfriend or because I was being anxious and paranoid or because I was just having a bad day and I shouldn't make decisions on bad days. But the thing that I realized was that I have a right to my feelings, irrational or not. And I have a right to express these feelings to you. I do not have any right to make demands on you, or threats. All I can do is tell you how I feel. And if how I feel is not good, and you love me, you should want to do what you can to make sure I don't feel that way. But what you do is not up to me. It's up to you. All I can do is tell you how I feel.
How do I feel? I feel tangential to your life. I feel like I'm not really a part of your life, I'm over here on the side. And it goes both ways. You've stopped feeling like a core part of my life. And I hate that. I hate that we have to catch up every time we talk. I hate that you're still vague when you talk about things like your family. And I hate that I never ask, I never press for answers. I always thought you would tell me if you wanted to, but it seems that you've never wanted to.
That's not fair. You try. I know that you try. But you know, sometimes I can feel you trying and it just isn't good enough. And when you're distant and vague, it makes me pull back and be distant and vague. Partly because I hate it, and I want you to hate it. I want to hurt you so you know how it feels, so you know that I'm hurt. But you don't seem hurt, you just keep on keeping on.
Maybe this is what you want. Maybe it's fine for you if we just text a few times a week and see each other a few times a month. Maybe you're not interested in doing our dumb like two-person book club and zine club. Maybe you'd rather that I just be on the same level as everyone else, that we exchange occasional snapchats and get coffee for an hour or two every couple months.
If that's what you want, that's fine. It's your life. You're the only one who knows what you want. Just let me know. Let me know what it is you think we are so I can stop thinking about you like you're this important person in my life.
And if you want to be? If you want to be important to me, and you think I'm important to you, act like it. Because you're not.
There are these Buzzfeed videos. And I know, Buzzfeed, but there's one that's "If Guy Best Friends Acted Like Girl Best Friends" and "If Guy Roommates Acted Like Girl Roommates" and "If Guys Acted Like Basic White Girls" and all of these videos just made me want to cry. Because I want a best friend that I text constantly and see almost every day. I want a friend that I take dumb selfies with, who uses me as a pillow when we watch movies, who gossips about boys with me and helps me pick the best outfits. I want to go to clubs and drink and be stupid.
I want more than that too. I mean, I want to make art and collaborate and talk about important stuff. But all the little day to day things? They matter. And you aren't around. We are never going to be that way because you aren't around, and you aren't going to be around. Your life is in Victoria.
And I said I would visit and I did. I spent three days there and I ate gross cafe food. But there were weekends that you were here when you didn't even tell me you were here. You never came back to see me. It's not like I wanted to steal you away on Thanksgiving or anything, but I could have driven over and said hi and spent 10 minutes with you. That would have been huge. But you didn't. And I don't think you're going to.
I don't think we are going to be what I want us to be. I just...I tell you sometimes that I think I want too much of you or I ask you how you can put up with my crazy and you say that I don't ask too much and I'm not crazy. But I think it's because there are still things I don't ask and still things I don't say because I'm scared you'll up and leave.
I have this need for people to need me. I don't think you do. I don't think you even want people to need you. There isn't a day when I don't think of you. But it is the most exhausting when we don't talk.
I made a promise. I made a vow. To love you ad infinitum. And I meant it.
There's a line in the Fantasticks where Matt's father says, "Son, I’ve picked you out a girl. A pearl." And Matt says, "And if I prefer a diamond?" And his father says, "How dare you prefer a diamond when I’ve just offered you a pearl!" And sometimes I feel that way about Tamara or Nancy. They are these pearls - Tamara invites me over when she has a free moment and texts after work. Nancy texts every few days to check in, and we catch up about life often enough that we don't need to catch up, we just talk about movies and society and I know that she has a presentation tomorrow and...
You're not reliable. We both know that. But sometimes it feels like you have to squeeze me into your schedule, like "Oh I have a couple hours between 3 and 5". Nancy and I got together when we were both sick. I was having awful cramps and Tamara picked me up and we ate ice cream and watched movies. And so you get sick, and that's not your fault, but it doesn't make it okay that you have to cancel, it still sucks just as much.
And somehow despite that fact that you don't text and can't hang out and just...whatever, you are my best friend. Despite all this, you're my freaking heart. And...I mean how dare I prefer a diamond when I've been offered a pearl. But I do. Because I just like the diamond better. Perhaps for no good reason. A diamond is sharper, harsher. But it refracts rainbow like nothing else I've ever seen.
Friendship is like...a garden, Charlie Kringus said. You have to water it, and tend it, and care about it. And you know what? I miss it and I want it back.
Hey, comrade. You know you're the best, right? We're talking the best. Because we do laugh the most, and have a lot of fun, and you get all my references. And you put up with me when I talk about her.
It's not the same. It's nice. It's lovely. And you need me, or at least you seem to. And you're available. You have the time. I wish that it was you.
But love is impetuous. It doesn't care about the rules.
"How dare you prefer a diamond
When I've just offered you a pearl?"
My darling is a diamond. Comrade, you are the loveliest of pearls.
It's not that we laugh the most, or have the most fun, or have the most in common. It just feel like everything clicks into place. All the insecurities seem unimportant. (I won't say they go away, they don't. But they don't seem to matter.)
"I don't want you to go," you said.
No, neither do I.
I was okay. I was frustrated, but surviving. I was living, I was happy, still. But now that we're talking, I'm centered again. There's not this concern hanging over my head and I can actually just enjoy things without having to convince myself that yes, this is fun, I am having fun.
I wish you wouldn't go away like that. But you needed time, and I gave you time, and you came back. That's what matters.
edit: okay. You're the worst. You say that all the time, and you act like it sometimes, so it's well established. But I wonder if you actually understand all the unnecessary heartache you cause.You know what? Whatever. See you tomorrow.
I keep having to remind myself not to resent her for having a life. How awful is that?
We are in a period of radio silence. She needs time. She apparently has time for her art and her roomates, and
not for me that's okay. That's good. She's good. We're...good.
I have my life, she has hers. Part of the beauty of any partnership is getting to bring your worlds together, to discuss the things that happen when you are apart.
But I can't help miss the world we built. We used to occupy our own universe.
This is the city
Where we fell in love
You probably wouldn't remember
But I'm thinking of
The time that we spent here
The things that we did
Kissed and cried and went to museums
Thought about having a kid...
Just rediscovered this gem while scrolling through old facebook posts. I thought I would never find this video again....
Time to cease the over-thinking - I reached out, and it took a while, but you reached back. We're good. (I hate the radio-silence thing, I would rather know what was going on, but all in good time.)
This will forever remain one of the truly horrifying horror movie endings.
I know I have no right to freak out because you didn't respond to a text message, but things have been different since you came back. I keep telling myself that there's been nothing in the past two weeks to warrant this kind of anxiety. But I keep going over it in my head.
It's just that I feel like you don't need me. That you'd get on fine if we only talked a few times a month.
As always, I'll say nothing, and drink to forget.