Alone, but not really

Open Letters

Sometimes I get to feeling sad – perseverating on the lack,

the absence of people who used to be so central to every moment and thought.

I will be in the middle of some mindless task, steering through the day, and I think about someone/the someones I no longer have in my life – maybe it’s a street sign with your name on it. A balcony where we looked out over the city. A miniature collie. A piece of braided grass that I find in a small container, tucked in a drawer. Or a conversation with myself that I keep pushing back into a corner.

inevitable as you get older

people fall by the wayside

sometimes by choice

often not

I start to feel bad for myself, a bit abandoned

I start to wonder what’s wrong with me

that people I feel so much for

don’t need me in their life

in some capacity. or other.

then… I’ll get a message from someone

full of eagerness and excitement

just to see me. Someone who is genuinely excited to hear my voice, to see each other face to face;

and I’m reminded that I’m lucky to have an abundance of people who feel this way.

You can’t keep everybody.

But it is hard to let go.

Especially when the letting go isn’t mutual.

But then, even though on a good (or bad) day I mostly believe that our technology

is killing our joy, our social capacity, our connection and empathy – or

as research suggests, and Ted Talks expostulate – we connect in order to feel, not because we do feel – that our desire for connection fuels our connectivity but breeds emptiness;

and I believe this

until, through that same conduit, someone reaches out and I do feel that touch.

Fan-tucking-tabulous. That’s how she feels about hanging out with me. And the sincerity of that expletive feels as real as seeing a face light up and the hug I know I’ll get when I see her.

Why do some people care. And some people not?

If you remember what real interactions feel like, maybe this internet-media-hyperspeed life isn’t so bad. Maybe you only notice this when you take a night off, to take stock, to start a week long vacation, by pulling every\thing off the hangers, to fold, re-fold, hang, smooth and air out all the tissue and fabric of the year. Of years. It still fits. So you keep it.

If not. Let go. My life and my body are done changing size. Aspiring to a shape I used to inhabit. I will never be 21 again. But I remember what it feels like. I remember it.

I think about the conversations I would have. As my hands move over the fabric and remember times that are captured in photographs, from back when we used real film and we borrowed a friend’s digital camera to take pictures one night. I don’t know her anymore. But I see her sometimes on Facebook.

Drifting in and out of each others’ news feed. I thought about you, until real life reminded me that a decade has gone by and the things I would have said might not make sense anymore.

But if you’re listening, and you miss me too, I’d still love not to be far away

from the people long gone, but still on the periphery of this web. You were important, and like so many of these ill-fitting things, that still hold tactile meaning, I don’t know where to store you.

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