What a lot we lost when we stopped writing letters. You can’t reread a phone call.” – Liz Carpenter
“One writes out of one thing only–one’s own experience. Everything depends on how relentlessly one forces from the experience the last drop, sweet or bitter, it can possibly give.” – James Baldwin
I was reading my journal last night when I found it impossible to miss your name in almost all the pages, and that’s only one journal among many. Funny how sometimes we don’t seem to outgrow the things we used to write as children. Like as a kid, we write about first loves and heartbreaks, so do we as adults. It’s been over a year and yet I still write about you. I found one paragraph that says, “the idea that I could be in love with someone I hardly know seems foolish even for a 22 year old like me. People tell me I know better than most of my contemporaries, having been single for as long as I could remember, and being successful at shunning away suitors and would-be suitors for fear they will not understand the commitment I hold dear in relationships, and for that overused (untested) excuse, “I’m not ready”. But then you came and for all your strange and untimely presence, it seemed like I didn’t know any better. I found myself willing, for the first time, to be vulnerable before someone I hardly know and I was ready to accept that foolishness as part of getting to know not just you but ultimately, myself.”
In two weeks I will be turning 24, and even now the memory that you and I would celebrate together remains vivid. Flipping through the pages of this week and last, and remembering that I have known you for a year and a half now, I find that the words I’ve written before still ring true today.
I still write about you, I write about the pains and lessons I go through as I live out the decisions we’ve made last year and the start of this year. There would be one-liner entries of, “You didn’t have to keep it from me,” “I should have known better,” “This time I mean it.” There were tear-soaked pages that scream of “why should it be that way with me?” or “Because you said it and I believed it.” And there were happy moments, too. Like when I wrote down, “Woke me up midnight to apologize, I was in high spirits the next day”, and “made the effort to come down and explain; I wouldn’t budge and he wouldn’t move, too. Stubborn guy, I like that.”
I never seem to run out of things to write about you, and whether or not that’s good, I like that I still get to write about you in some way. While some people would rather not remember, quoting Isabel Allende, I “write what should not be forgotten.”
Heaven forbid I forget my heart.