So in an attempt to regain some sanity – and some pounds – I’ve gone back and tried to remember some of the greatest romantic gestures of my life.
And please know that I mean ‘gone back’ literally. I scanned my archives for some mentions of a particular spring I flew to Seattle with a mission. I was 27 years old, living in San Francisco, and right before I left to return home I wrote this:
“And I miss that Miranda. That Miranda—that one that says things she shouldn’t, that loves too too fucking hard and can’t rationalize why, that fears regret so much that she does extraordinary things—that barely glances at a calendar or considers the health of her cat before purchasing air travel.”
God. Remember when I had a cat?
What’s funny is that the person I wrote this about, because there was “a person” at the time, was Ben, who is still in my inbox frequently these days. It’s not every day, but I don’t think a month has gone by this year that I haven’t heard from him at least a time or two. And of that whole group of people, for me, he’s pretty much the only one left.
And it’s weird to think of all of those old allegiances because I used to hang all of my experiences within my hometown upon them.
Like, I don’t even talk to Ben’s brother anymore. But I mean, how many rapists do I really speak to?
We’re getting off track, here.
My point is that a lot of my friends here, not that there are as many as say, ten years ago in my fair hometown, keep telling me that I’ve done absolutely nothing wrong, that mine wasn’t such a grave misstep. But the thing is that I hold myself to a higher bar than many because of so many of the things that I saw and did way back then.
It’s all a little messy in my head now, like, I’m not sure of the exact timeline of everything, but I remember deciding from the repose of my apartment in San Francisco that I was going to fly to Seattle to tell Ben…something. And the years have made what happened on that trip – or even exactly which trip it was – kind of shaky and nebulous, but regardless I know that I never, ever did. Up until late in the summer the following year when I climbed out of his bed for the last time.
In New York, maybe the summer of 2012, I heard from him for the first time in a while, maybe a year or more. Someone had given him my new NY number, the one I still have, and he had texted me asking to spend the winter with him in Argentina. I agreed. Obviously, we didn’t go, but in all of the years after that I think that whole exchange just got recharacterized as one between mere friends, and we’ve behaved that way ever since.
So okay, there are two stories here:
One is, why did I never say anything? I have made several full-on admissions of love over the years, twice in 2012 alone. Many of them were unrequited or maybe even unwarranted; outcome has never played much of a factor in my decision to reveal this. So what made this one different?
And the other story here is, are we still friends precisely because I never said anything? And yeah, I’m asking you this because as fond as I was and am of Ben, none of this has anything to do with him, because aside from his frequent messages in my inbox this year it is not his that I wait so impatiently for, and not his that sent my head careening down memory lane yesterday.
They started coming in all at once.
I don’t really know why you kept this all this time
You could have let this out and we could have talked
The thing is, that I don’t really know what to say
But the thing is like yeah, now neither do I, because while I thought I did this whole thing to try and save something I thought I wanted, now it feels like a chapter is closed instead.
So I’m not really sure what my next message should say now.