Updated: Apr 3
every now and then, i look around me and try to take it all in: how much i’ve changed and how far i’ve come. i look at my hands and comb through the muscle memory and see the ghosts of those i’ve held, reached out to and let go. contract, extend, release.
i am turning 24 this year and nothing makes sense anymore. the older i get, the more it becomes apparent to me how little i know of love, of anything really. i can’t help but wonder if you felt the same way all those years before. how drastically wrong you were about the things you were so sure about, how you can simultaneously love someone so much and no longer want them in your life. i have lost most of the people i tried so hard to keep and i am better for it. this scares me. sometimes i’m scared that i’m happy around people knowing that it’ll end, and all i’ll ever have are memories, and even those are always going to be tainted by some sort of melancholy. i try so desperately to cherish everything around me and everyone who chooses to share their lives with me from moment to moment. i love them all so dearly. and soon enough we’ll change as we must. and soon enough all i’ll have left of them are ghosts, and echoes, and muscle memory. i want so badly to tell them i love you all so much, and nothing makes sense to me but this - us, and i will never be able to find words for how truly important to me this moment is, how grateful i am for the stroke of luck that led me to this, even if only temporarily, how i’ll miss you when you’re gone. but i don’t want them to worry. so all i can muster is thank you and take care and i hope that they understand. i wonder if this was how you felt when you were 24. i wonder if this was what you knew of life when you left.
i am saying this because up to a certain point in time, i had endured in the name of survival. i thought that maybe if i endured and lived long enough, somewhere along the line, you would be there to give it all meaning. i see now how terribly flawed and misguided it was, and there were times when i deeply regretted it but ultimately, i am alive today because a long sigh ago, you told me to, and i wouldn’t be if you hadn’t. so i guess this is an apology. i am sorry for all the wrong ways i internalized the hope that you gave me. and for what it’s worth, i forgive you for breaking your promise. you see, i stopped believing in promises a year ago. not out of bitterness but out of a better understanding of what it is to be human. sometimes, i think that to make a promise is to imagine the future far too simply. and besides, i think that we owe it to ourselves and everyone to act based on our free will and not off of a binding contract under the influence of a passing moment or a fleeting feeling. i forgive you for leaving without a word. i will never fully know how you felt or what you thought during those moments but i hope that you know that you are forgiven for the ways you found to survive, and grace is an old forgotten song waiting in the heart of a new beginning, and in the quietest moments of surrender, not in defeat but in acceptance, you will almost hear it beckoning.
or perhaps what i truly mean to say is thank you. for helping me see outside of myself, through my suffering, past my fears and into the unknown. every step i have taken to get me to this exact moment in time has been driven by the words you had left with me: to endure and live fully. so thank you. the life i’ve found on the other side of fear and despair is, well, overwhelming and scary and oftentimes disheartening, but there are also flickers of pure wonder and joy and hope and desire to reach further. i look around me and i take it all in, the beauty, horror and absurdity, knowing that nothing is ever promised, and i am grateful to be here. i have persisted and changed and moved ever forward because of the hope you inspired in me. i look at my hands and comb through the muscle memory and see the ghosts of those i’ve held, reached out to and let go. contract, extend, release. i trace along the fringes of contentment. i contract, and i revel, and i want. i run across the tightropes of trepidation, of time running out. i extend, and i ache, and i persist, and i bargain. i sigh. i release, and i hope anyway. i love anyway. maybe the point of memory is not to relive the feelings in its purest form. maybe the point of memory is just for us to know that we were happy, and we were sad, and we laughed, and we cried, and sometimes simultaneously. maybe just knowing and having experienced all of it is enough.
and so as i must, i fare you well, distant star, strange navigator, you miracle of a being, i relieve you of your promise and i thank you for passing by. should you ever find yourself in my corner of the world in a parallel universe, i hope you remember me as you did in this one, say my name like an answer to a prayer and i will smile, despite of myself, in muscle memory, and i will remember hope.