To be honest I have a midterm in 6 hours for a class in which I’ve never consciously endured a lecture nor written down a page of notes, and also the lid on my Tim Horton’s coffee just popped off when the coffee was running low and I dribbled coffee all down my front and just in general I’m feeling like I’m in a weird existential place. The library is empty and I’m camped out in a chair, repping prime real estate in front of a 20-foot-wide picturesque window overlooking the diag. I can laugh aloud with a cackle to rival DeVille and no one is around to reprimand me. Feeling this isolated and lonely always reminds me of you.
And readers, if you want to throw on ‘The Funeral’ by Band of Horses, this is what I’m listening to while I’m writing this so if you’re feeling rather adventurous, knock yourself out.
When we are together you normally mask your lack of recollection well. Other people assume the hypothesis that you simply have few things you want to share, and forget who you share with. It happens to a lot of people, but not like you. This hypothesis is wrong. But it started so slowly, I hardly noticed.
“I have to play you this album on my new record player,” you say, even though you’ve had it for months. We have listened to it twice before, but I will feign only vague remembrance.
“I like this song,” I say, and somehow on an album with no lyrics you manage to know which number it is. Along with every chord, every line, every drum beat and progression.
“Let’s watch a movie,” you suggest, and I agree as long as it’s something we haven’t watched before. You pick out the single two movies we have.
Somehow, our collective memory is mine. I say somehow because it’s hard for me to admit that I know what the somehow is.
I used to hope for otherwise because you care about me. Because you are my first happy new year. Because our hugs always linger a little longer than they used to. Because when you’re having a bad day, we watch Seinfeld quietly on TV. And I take 4 AM trips to Meijer with you to grab mint chocolate chip ice cream, and debate which brand to buy for 10 minutes. And because we threw poppers off of your balcony onto the car of your neighbor who thinks you’re strange. Because I play with your hair when you fall asleep, and because we smile at each other from across the table and don’t have to say anything.
Because you know I’ll be the first person to buy a ticket for one of your shows. Because you promise that one day, I’ll get to hear some of the music you’ve written. Because I’ll sit and chat with your visitors for hours just to appreciate the time we’ve found to spend together. Because you are the only person who enthusiastically appreciates my paintings. Because I don’t have to dumb down my vocabulary around you, and you don’t have to pretend like you don’t enjoy the insanely difficult subjects you study. Because you love that someone is as pale as you, and that someone loves your stupid Jimmy Neutron haircut and your goofy smile and your generally adventurous demeanor. Because you tell me things that you can’t tell other people, because you don’t like to be judged.
But also because I’ll be there to drive because you’re incapacitated. Because I’ll walk, bike, or drive any distance at any time of the night for you. Because I might have something you want. But all of this of course, is because you’ve dug yourself into a new cycle of productivity and then release. Nowadays it doesn’t particularly matter, but it almost certainly guarantees that you slip further and further away from me. Every day that passes you forget something else that I will remember.
“I can’t believe I’m telling you this,” you’ll start. And I’ll have a new understanding of what it is you’ve hidden and what it is you’ve lost entirely, never to resurface except in our dark quiet moments of questionable intention.
It would be disrespectful to stereotype you so I won’t say it, but you are a bad idea that crosses my mind like a forgotten chore by the hour. I hear your laugh around corners and see your smile on the faces of genuine friends; the ones that enjoy every moment shared but still cannot let go of a nagging sadness with an ambiguous starting point.
And yet you remain my single identifiable reason for my constant and non-committal failure. I am terrified by you.
I’m scared that you are such a huge part of my life. Everyone is scared by these things, though.
But I’m more scared of waking up one day without you. That it will have happened; maybe the night before, maybe earlier in the morning. But that finally you had taken too much, or tried something at last, and you had just decided to call it quits.
I’m so, so sorry that I can’t help you.