I Didn’t Think About You Once Today

I didn’t think about you once today, for the first time since I met you. When I woke up this morning, my first thought was simply that it was too cold to get out of bed; I did not wish that you were there beside me. I went to the closet and got dressed without thinking about whether or not you liked the shirt I was putting on, didn’t think about whether you’d already seen me in the sweater I layered over it. I skipped breakfast, as I always do, and I didn’t hear your voice chastising me in the back of my head,  I just glanced at the clock, grabbed my keys, and shut the door firmly behind me.

I didn’t see anyone who reminded me of you on my way to work. I didn’t hear anyone who had your laugh, didn’t see anyone sporting the same shoes you wear.

At the office, I answered phones, got coffee, checked emails, sorted paperwork, chatted with coworkers, spaced out, got stuff done, all without interruption. When my boss handed me a bunch of work right before it was time to leave, I didn’t have to suppress the urge to text you and complain, didn’t even think back to a time when something like this would have made me late to have dinner with you. I made it home eventually, and when I got there I called up a friend and asked if he wanted to come over and watch television with me. He did. We laughed, we made popcorn, we had a great time, and not once did either of us mention your name.

I went out for a run with my iPod on shuffle, and I heard a song we danced to together at our favorite bar, the night you wore a dark gray t-shirt and I ordered my usual, one shot too many. But that memory of you didn’t accompany it this time.  I didn’t care that you weren’t with me,  I just kept on running.

As I’m lying here in bed, about to close my eyes and drift off to a place where I will not dream of you, this is when I realise I haven’t thought about you today. Some might say this realization ends my streak-of-not-thinking-of-you, that I’ve inadvertently let your ghost return to haunt me once again, but this is not true at all. See, in thinking about how I haven’t thought of you, I’m not really thinking about you at all — I’m finally thinking about me.

You’re just an idea now, a dark shadow, something I’m only considering as it relates to my own evolution. I’m recalling what I used to be like when you were all I ever thought about, when you seemed to own my thoughts morning, noon, and night. I’m thinking about the tear-stained pillows and empty wine bottles that decorated my room in the time I spent trying to get over you. I’m remembering how badly I longed to free myself from your spell, but secretly believed that day would never come.

And yet, that day is here, that day is today, the day I did not think of you, and I cannot help but smile, for I am finally free. Everyone said it would happen eventually, and I’m happy to report they were right (as they almost always are). I’ve moved on, as we all seem to do eventually. The best part is, I doubt I’ll be thinking of you tomorrow either or ever again.

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You’re Back…I’m not Snow White

You’re back, and you announce it to me via text or email or Facebook message or skywriting or carrier pigeon. “Hey,” you write. “I’m back.”

Oh. How nice. How nice for you. I…I don’t know how I’m supposed to react.

Did you think that when you left, I froze? That time stood still and I just stayed exactly the same in exactly the place you left me? Did you think I wasn’t upset, wasn’t moved, wasn’t changed by your leaving and the way you left? Did you think I just went, “Oh, okay. I’ll wait here” and plopped down and twiddled my thumbs and waited for you to return?

I am different than when you took off. I was alone and I was sad and I picked myself up, dusted myself off and kept on. Well, what was I supposed to do? Go to sleep? Hibernate? Go into a coma? Die? Was I supposed to die? And then rest in a coffin in the forest and wait for you to come back and kiss me and wake me up? Am I Snow White?

At first, I waited for you. Maybe intentionally.  Maybe just because I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. I convinced myself that you were coming back and it was me you were coming back for. I convinced myself I could hold out, and that if I just remained pristine and perfect, I’d be preserved for when you returned. But then, time went by and I moved on. You have no right to come back and expect me to just drop everything like we were a book you get to just put a bookmark in and return to whenever it’s convenient for you.

There is no bookmark. My story continued without you.

Is this a TV show? Did they just want to stir up my storyline for sweeps or a season finale? You used to be a series regular and then you thought maybe you could do movies or something so the writers wrote you out of the show. Then, a season later, your movie career failed and you asked to be written back in and so the writers shoe-horned a reason for you to just show up at the coffee shop and voila! You’re back!

But here’s the rub: you missed a whole season. Maybe I was given a new love interest or maybe I went through some trying “Very Special Episodes” but either way, I am not the same. You can’t just expect me to be the same.

I’m not even mad at you. I’m sorry if it seems like I’m mad. I’m just frustrated by all this. A big part of me wants to run into your arms and never let go. A big part of me wants to resume everything as normal. A big part of me wants to believe you’ll never leave again. Will you ask me to wait for you this time? I want you too, but I’m also scared.

You were like an imprint in a car seat or a divot in the sand. I knew you’d been there, because you left a mark, but then you made a choice and you were gone. It really, really hurt.

You’re back, you tell me. And you want a response, a reaction, something, but I feel too many emotions at once to figure it out. Can I both slap you and kiss you? Confuse you the way you confused me?

I’m sure we’ve both changed. I bet you’re also unsure and tentative. You have so much you want to tell me, so much to share. Where do you even begin? Where should I even begin?

But it’s halfway through the next season and even the writers can’t salvage this one and I don’t want them to. Let me enjoy my happy ending this time.

I’m not Snow White…