Today I thought of you. Not like I usually used to, fleeting mental pop-ups when I saw or heard things connected to you or what used to be us. Pop-ups which, initially used to be attached with hope, and then turned to split-second shots of something like despair.
I said I thought of you but all I have is a hazy confused recollection of some memories, not rooted to any context. Like an instagram timeline of images and feelings, only the time that has elapsed eroded the details of the images.
Me seated across from you at that fast-food joint, I can't remember which, on our awkward first date. You, embarassedly showing pictures of your childhood. Both of us figuring out what kissing, and everything that followed was about. All the times I was mortified to take the hand that you held out. Being terrified that something I did made you so mad that you broke a vase and didn't eat all day. Those crushing moments of self-doubt and loathing because you never acknowledged the existence of 'us' to more than a few people. Lacking the courage to do so, even when you were ready.
When we decided it was over, and strangely, agreed to help each other move on, I cried incessantly for a few days. I even took a selfie, looking depressed and drained of life. I then cried intermittently for a month or two. Then, I was fine. I thought I had moved on.
Now that I think about it, the first time that we met after all this happened, I was at-ease, this time I could confidently tell anyone who saw us, "oh, we're just friends" and not be guilty about lying, I think you tried to ask me, in a vague roundabout way, if it could work out in the future. I said no.
I moved on, but I always thought we could go back to whatever we had. That we would take time to figure out other things. That I could pick up the phone, call you, and it would be "us" again.
You told me, flippantly, that you moved on. When multiple glasses of vodka, whiskey and pepsi, rum and coke and nictoine from five cigarettes were coursing through my blood and making me feel sick, and you told me that you thought you'd never feel "that" way again, but that she was chilled out and casual and "open to everything, you know how Delhi girls are," it made me sicker than I ever felt in my life. Head reeling. Didn't know how to make it stop. Needles pricking me from inside. Tears. Multiple calls and failed attempts at explanations. That was a night I shudder to remember, the lowest point in my life.
I wish I could have picked a moment and let go when you moved on. I'm sorry I didn't deal with this better. But when you said "I don't have time for all that bullshit like I used to," it felt like a crushing indictment of everything I am, everything I did, everything I didn't do, and everything we did together.
Now, I too am flippant when your name comes up. I have constructed a poor, all-your-evil-bits-in-one version to talk about and to negate everything we might have ever had.
I've made peace with all this now. I can re-visit all the shows and the songs and memories without any feeling, except perhaps, for a vague sense of nostalgia.
Today, I watched Black Books and laughed.
Thank you for introducing to the genius that Moran is.