On Remembering

My phone lights up from a text.

It’s 3-in-the-morning in Oslo, and I am still awake so the brightness doesn’t bother me (I don’t adjust well to time zone changes).

It’s from an old fling from my freshman year of college, telling me that something he saw or heard that day reminded him of me, but he couldn’t remember what it was. He told me he “thought [he’d] say hello and let [me] know [he] hopes [I’m] doing well. Yes, the most cliche thing to say to someone, but [he] genuinely [meant] it.”

It’s weird to deal with the idea of someone I don’t speak to anymore looking back on our time together fondly, even just enough to wish me well. And it doesn’t quite make sense that I feel this weirdness because there are many people with whom I no longer keep in touch, of whom I still think well.

And I suppose that’s the anxiety in me, assuming that drifting apart from people means those people must hate me now, even though I often don’t feel this way and I am inherently on the equal but opposite end of that phenomenon.

And it’s in part due to immediately hearing the voices of those who don’t look back on time spent with me pleasantly — there are two louder that the rest. One has an unmistakable Midwestern accent, of someone who grew up just a couple miles up the road of my childhood home. The other is more explosive, yelling through an Australian inflection (though it’s surely faded after 13 years away from home).

Why do the few loud voices seem to get all the attention?