I have so much to say, but I don’t even know where to start.

Like, literally, I just sat here for about three minutes trying to gather my thoughts and I still don’t totally know where to begin. I guess I’ll just Michael-Scott my way through this and start, hoping I’ll find my sentences along the way.

Old memories of you are haunting me lately. I went through my gmail folders and cleaned out a bunch of old content the other day — invoices for my previous landlord, messages to myself with grocery lists and voice memos, Meowingtons newsletters I thought were cute enough to save — and I found a whole folder of our old gchats. I heard you mention a few times that our gchats from 2010 were saved somewhere, but I had no idea how to access them or desire to return to that place in time.

But there they were, sitting there in an ancient folder in my gmail, basically shouting, “Read me! You’re a masochist! Do it!” so I did and remembered why I didn’t want to return to that stupid, vulnerable, 20-year-old place. All the guilt I felt for not loving you the way you loved me rushed back. And so did some of the frustration and hurt for both of us and all that garbage. But mostly the guilt.

So that happened, and then the next day, Owl City came on the radio — an old track from 2010 that I used to listen to that summer driving to the Library Coffeehouse. I remembered you sitting in one of the big plush chairs by the window waiting for me to get off work so we could drive aimlessly around Meridian and avoid the smoke. I always thought it was really nice that you would come to visit me at work and hang out. You were one of the only friends that bothered to do it.

That was a quieter and more peaceful time in our friendship, which is probably why it’s on my mind so much. Remembering and appreciating and trying not to be angry or too hurt to function.

It’s like these little relics of before everything in 2016–17 are orbiting me. I feel guilty for contacting you on your birthday in ’15. I should have just stayed away. Hell, I feel guilty for responding to your message in April of that year. We really tore through each other’s lives for a second time. It really bums me out to know it happened twice. That’s enough evidence to know we’re just . . . bad for each other. And we really don’t want to be. We genuinely loved each other and we fucked each other up in irreparable ways since we’re incapable of working through it together to heal.

Anyway, I’m just rambling now. All of this is to say is I’m battling all of it, as per usual. I’m glad the accountability process was able to move me past my anger, and I hope I’ll move past the hurt of you ending it and not following through. Loving an abuser is hard. (I really wanted to remove that “abuser” label from you.)

Ugh. That just sucks to say out loud. Loving an abuser is hard. Just having to sit with it is hard. And sitting it without any conclusion or direction is even harder. Now it’s all just open, aimless, without trajectory. Just there. A thing that happened. A thing that continues to happen.

On a totally separate note, I’m sorry I said I would never love you again. Fuck. That was so inaccurate. And shitty of me. I said a lot of things borne out of anger. I really shouldn’t have posted any of that and worked through it all on my own. I’m glad I wrote it all out, but I shouldn’t have let anyone see it. I’m just glad I’m past it and sorry for showing you any of it.

I can feel fall coming. It’s permeating today’s smoke. This season reminds me of us. Even though last fall was hard with your drinking and me struggling to find my independence, we had some good memories, too. The corn maze, running from zombies, watching Halloween on my couch and waving at the sensor on my porch to keep the light on for trick-or-treaters, going to Chandlers (the memory still makes the bottom of my stomach warm), stepping on leaves . . .

Some of it was good and some of it was bad and I feel nostalgic today for the some-good parts, and for you.

I’m glad I have this outlet. I needed it. I feel a little better having talked it out with myself. Pretending to write to you helps, even though I doubt you’ll ever hear these extraneous thoughts. At least I get to write them out. It helps me be respectful and not actually send them to you. I did this sometimes after 2011 when we first stopped talking. But even then, I always felt like us parting ways wasn’t as violent as this time. Like we both respected each other still. But this time . . . I don’t feel respected at all. That sucks. But I’m pressing on.

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