From: Amitha Bhat <email@example.com>
To: X <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: I don’t miss you, I remember
Here’s what I do when I no longer want to be on this timeline:
I think about all the things about myself that have changed since everything happened this summer. I finally gave in and got a guitar, I learned how to knit, I was prescribed glasses that I only wear during lecture, I cut my bangs, I’ve written again, I’m doing the thing that I’ve wanted to do since I got here and my favorite song is now “Hey” by Pixies, not “Sweater Weather” anymore, like I’d always play on your guitar.
Every couple of weeks or so while I’m sleeping, I’ll be forced to relive it. I wake up at five in the morning. I sit outside on the phone with my mother and tell her again, while she listens patiently. On long car rides back to school with my dad, I ask him how long it’s going to take and he tells me that it might be time to reconsider how I deal with these things. We eat at Joe’s Cafe for breakfast, but it’s not like it was the last time. It’s not silent and mourning, and we aren’t fighting anymore.
I walk new routes to class. I keep the lights on this time. I shift my focus to the sentences on paper. I pry them open there, because it’s safer. Better. Scribble it down and read it, tell myself that this will be the last time and wonder months later why it wasn’t.
Spring is my new season of choice: everything building up to something worthwhile amid all the greenery. A warm, subtle breeze greets me as I walk to the beach alone. I dig my fingertips into the sand, tilt my face toward the sun and think of a new home.
I finally forget, for a minute, about all of it. You don’t know me anymore.
I used to bite my pens in AP Psychology. I used to tell people I knew what I wanted to do with my life, but now I lie.
Here’s the issue. You might remember that I still love “The Social Network” (and I’m still obnoxious about it); I still think the work is ultimately what matters the most; I still talk to her; I started talking to him; and I think of the story, more than anything.
Or, perhaps the summer before our senior year of high school, all the work that we loved, the yearning to step out of the house. And afterward, my long walks back and forth from the mailbox, thinking of what life would be like in Boston. Eventually, Santa Barbara.
For the longest time, I tried to neglect my memory. Now, I understand how this will go. I’ll remember the tightness in my chest on the phone with you just as much as I’ll remember standing alongside you in the blazing afternoon sun, hand wrapped around my graduation cap — thinking that if anything were to happen after we left this town, you’d be there to tell.
A version of this article appeared on pg. 14 of the Feb. 23, 2023 edition of the Daily Nexus.