I wore your sweatshirt today. I wore it yesterday, too. I also wore it three days ago, which was your birthday, but I didn't call you or text you or anything. I didn't even write on your Facebook wall, which is the cheapest form of a birthday wish. Instead I just wore your hoodie and reread all the letters and cards and emails I've saved from you. You gave me your hoodie the first time I flew a million miles to visit you, although I didn't know you placed it in my suitcase until I was back home. It's a like a hug now, worn and familiar and bunchy in all the places we used to be together. I had to sew the pocket back on after I ripped it six summers ago. There are holes in the sleeves where my thumbs fit, which I think is kind of tacky somehow, but I haven't sewn them back up because when I slip my thumbs through I try to remember what it was like to hold your hand. I can't even remember that sometimes, and I think I didn't call you on your birthday because the person I love doesn't really exist anymore. The person you loved doesn't either. You gave me my favorite nickname and I really miss it now that no one uses it anymore.
I loved you in a way I wasn't ready for, and that led me to ruin everything in my attempts to control what I didn't understand. We are friends now, probably better friends than we were then, but we don't love each other like we used to. I like us as friends. We understand that part of us and we seldom speak of the terrible things we did to each other out of misunderstood passion. You got mad once because I had a picture of me kissing Hoodie Boy on New Years Eve on my Facebook and I refused to take it down. I told you I never slept with him, which was then and is still true. You didn't care and you still got mad and we only officially dated for three days. I never slept with you either and when I started seeing someone else you said friendship was too hard and we didn't talk for two years. We're healed now in a way I don't understand, but I am trying very hard not to ruin it this time. Out of the three people to take me to prom, you were the only one to request a song just for me.
I loved you and I slept with you. We were good at everything except treating each other with respect and delicacy. I guess I didn't know lovers were supposed to do that. We could talk and listen to music and travel and play board games or even just do nothing, but we didn't know how to fight. We treated every hiccup like the end of the world, probably because we felt like it was. We learned so much, so many bad things. We learned loneliness and jealousy and betrayal. I don't mind having learned those things with you because I loved you and I slept with you. We would eventually grow apart, but you would get there before me, and when you left I didn't understand. I wasn't ready and it was the first time in my whole life I couldn't argue my way out of something. We're healed now, too, and we aren't great friends but we are healed. And we owe that to the second boy I loved and didn't sleep with because he's the one who taught me how to mend things with someone who once left you broken. You brought flowers to my work when we were fighting once and I made you leave and looking back I really regret that.
I didn't love you, but I thought I did. I slept with you and it was always good because I was always drunk. I was drunk for a whole year, I think. That's what we did. We moved too fast and stayed out too late and drank too much and had excessive amounts of fun and we did everything but talk about what was wrong with either of us for an entire year. I grew out of that but I didn't want to leave for fear of hurting you when you didn't really do anything wrong. Then you slept with someone else and that was wrong. Another year later, I forgave you and we were best friends in a way that would have saved us if it had happened while we were together. We aren't anything now because I have reviewed the evidence and decided that you don't deserve it. I don't regret our time of best-friendship, but it was more closure for me than it was anything else. I did see you vulnerable a few times (which is the part I love, because it showed me why you are capable of such cruelty) but I didn't call you on your birthday either because you are really just the same person who I didn't fall in love with in the first place. When the girl you left me for broke your heart in return it didn't make me happy like I thought it would.
I didn't mean to love you, but I couldn't help it. We both fought it. I was once faced with a decision that involved hurting you and you told me you just wanted me to be happy. And we both knew that meant hurting you, and that is why I love you. I'm still waiting for you to break my heart in some over the top way, because that is what I am used to, but it won't happen. It won't happen because the last time we saw each other we barely spoke and when you squeezed my hand goodbye, I was the first person to let go. I will eventually smash your heart into chunky gooey bits, if I haven't already, regardless of the fact that we are just friends. But as you can see, that kind of thing can be healed; never the same, but still somehow functional. I'm saying this because I am going to call you on your birthday. I don't know if you will answer. I always look for your corner in the Ybor parking garage.
Because I can't write anything without it being taken out of context by people who know me personally (and I don't even think that's your fault), this has nothing to do with Eric. He is asleep in the next room. I am typing on the couch even though he bought me a sweet desk and a cool chair. Putting the desk next to the bed was stupid on my part because I usually write at ungodly morning hours but I won't write there if he's sleeping because I love him. But for the record, we celebrate birthdays in person and then we sleep together. He doesn't get an italic inside joke because it isn't about him.
I watched Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World yesterday and I have seen it a thousand times but yesterday it really bummed me out. If you haven't seen the movie I'm not going to explain it so Google some plot shit and come back. What would happen if the people I love (used to love? love differently now?) got together? Their ideas of me would be so different. Even if it were like the movie, if they united to fight my current love, they'd all be fighting for a different person. Or a different time. Or even a different version of themselves than who they are now. Or something.
It struck me all at once, how odd it is to have these people (and a few others who got close) walking around carrying parts of me with them. They know my secrets and my flaws and my fears and they have seen the scar that I never talk about and they could, at any time, use all those things against me. But they don't. Because they love me. (Question mark?)
I have decided a few things as a result of this.
1.) I need to sleep more.
2.) I need to listen to Taylor Swift and Lana Del Ray songs less.
3.) I don't mind letting you boys keep some things about me. Keep them safe. Keep them close. I'll keep your things safe, too. And if your exes contact me and want to start an evil league to fight your new lady, I'll politely decline because that seems like bullshit and I'm sure she's a nice girl anyway.