One of the hardest things about social media is that for whatever reasons, someone building the sucker thought it would be a good idea to give you little reminders of things that happened on that day over the last several years.

I keep opening up these things and finding little reminders of people who are no longer in my life. Pictures. Comments on my posts. And even the negative space of likes or reacts that still show up in the tally, but since the person is blocked, there is nothing there anymore. You see three heart reacts and only two of them are attributed to anyone, you know damn good and well who the third was. And you miss that interraction with them.

You miss that time shared with them. You think of them, and doubt they think of you anymore. Unless it’s to tell their friends how awful you were.

I guess it’s fine. Whatever they have to do to get through the day.

The other night I had a hard time falling asleep because I had forgotten the name of someone’s kid. It bothered me. The name was just a blank in my mind owned by a smiling face. Is that what happens? Little moments like that are just taken away, like standing on the shoreline and watching the ocean eat pieces of the land until one day it will all be gone?

In that moment I had a flicker of thought that said “You could just text them and ask.” No. You can’t.

Thing is I’ve woken up years and years later and wondered what the hell I was thinking to push people away. Jeez, I thought I had it all figured out. Now I just have a few trinkets or pictures to remind me of them. It isn’t the same. But, not everyone was meant to come with us on our journey. Sometimes we lose them along the way. Maybe we get to carry with us the memories of them.

I’d rather be reminded of them from a moment that sets a memory to living flame in my mind, rather than be beaten over the head with it on some algorthimic anniversary, reminding you how much further away from that last time you were happy is from now. And it just keeps drifting further and further. Until one day, it will wink out like a porch light on the horizon.

Those days you wish you could share something cool with them you’ve seen or experienced. Telling them a joke you heard that you knew would have made them laugh.

All my life I’ve watched people go. I think about them still. I doubt they even remember my name. Those who do probably wish they didn’t. But I still think of them. I hold onto those times like those stories might be the only thing keeping them on this world. How easy it is for some people to just let go.

That’s not me. I weave them into my stories so they have a place to live. Long after they are gone.

It’s okay. It will pass.

Muscle Memory

I’ve taken the words of T.S. Eliot to heart over the years. April is the cruelest month, from my experience.

Two years ago this week, I was saying goodbye to my last girlfriend, who had woken up something inside of me I thought might never come alive again. It wasn’t meant to be, even though she renewed my faith that you could meet someone on a summer evening, start dating them, fall in love, and be crazy about each other for almost a year. Not many people get that, and I’ve had it twice. I lost them both in April.

In just a few days, my daughter will be 19 years old. I haven’t spoken with her in three and a half years. I haven’t spoken with my oldest since April 4, 2016. I could list about a dozen other shitty moments of my life that have accumulated into Aprils all throughout my years. It’s a month to be skipped. A dead month, where the leaves aren’t even out on the trees yet.

Maybe that explains the funk I’ve been in. April is weighing hard upon me lately and like muscle memory, all of those sorrows are like the pain of an old wound. The grey skies and flurries. The naked trees and brown grass. Even just the way the air smells or the way the stars linger in the sky, with Orion just now reaching the western horizon at the beginning of night.

I remember an April day from a long time ago. A date with my first love. A perfect day. We started at the Denver Botanical Gardens on a day when almost nothing had been planted. She told me a secret about herself, something she had only shared with me at the time. I don’t know if she ever shared it with anyone else. Sitting there on a bench together amid the winterkilled flowers of last year, she cried happy tears. We went to the museum and stole kisses underneath the dinosaur skeletons. She talked about how she wanted to travel the world with me as we looked at dioramas of polar bears and seals together. We kissed for hours in City Park, using our long coats like a privacy tent. We thought we were cool. We had gyros at a dive restaurant on Colfax, and then drove to Golden to see the railroad museum. We never made it inside. Instead we kissed in her car in the parking lot until they locked the gates. Then we went to Westminster and watched the re-release of the Lion King in the theatre, finishing up the evening with more necking in her car until she drove home and I went back to my apartment alone, swimming in those feel-good chemicals the whole drive. It’s one of those days I wish I could relive over and over.

The next April, I was saying goodbye to her in the cold rain under a cottonwood tree in another park. The Hale-Bopp comet was still riding high in the sky with its twin tail. She didn’t want to get married or have kids, and I did. That was 25 years ago.

A Wash

Today I edited but for the most part I just wanted to get out of town. I woke up late after having taken some Tylenol PM last night to help with sleep. The entire day I just felt like something was a few steps off. But I edited. I have some days where I’m just slogging through the book and I wonder who cares, why am I doing this? I think those are the days I should probably write something.

Today I have been in a bit of a funk, feeling like something is off in the world right now and I either don’t know how to fix it, or it isn’t mine to fix. It’s been a quiet, lonely day. I felt sick earlier. My stomach was messed up. Maybe it was something I ate. These days when that happens I’m the only one who knows, because I’m the only one who cares.

A little while ago, someone asked me “Do you actually think you are alone?” Yes, I do. Thank you for your concern. You were one of the reasons I didn’t feel alone for a while, and then you became one of the big reasons I did.

Fuck you.

And fuck anyone else who walked away figuring I would be fine without them. Sometimes I’m not fine. I guess the difference between them and me is I still care. And they don’t think of me at all.

One of the hard things about solitude is looking back at the few times you weren’t alone and missing those moments. You wonder if you’ll ever have anything beautiful again. You miss those firsts. The first kiss. The first dance. Like lightning strikes. Intense yet fleeting. You can’t recreate those moments, and some days it is worse living in your memory of it. You get these moments where you want to get mad. There’s no use in that either.

Days like this I know I could have done more. And it’s late at night and I think of things like driving across the desert when I was 15 and I got to control the radio for once. The way the rains of April had fallen that Spring break and I listened to Queensryche on the radio, with the scent of desert flowers heavy in the air. Just Another Rainy Night Without You. It hits different now. But it’s such a sorrow that I felt the echoes of it even back then.

After the edits I did today, I don’t feel confident. I feel like today was a wash. More of the same awaits me. More disappointment. More reaching for something I can never have. Connection. I feel like everything I need is on the other side of glass and I can only watch it.

Today I’m three times as older than I was that day of driving across the desert. Today was another wasted day. Only enough in the tank to get a few of the things done I needed. The rest is just waiting it out. I would have never guessed it would be like this.