Dear My Stranger,
I was at the train station when – –”Evan?” I said, in disbelief. I was a sixteen when I saw you last. We haven’t spoken since then. “Oh hey,” My Stranger said. And as I looked at you I didn’t see anything. I had a vague melody playing in my head that was so distant, I was almost certain that it didn’t exist.
Of all the questions there may be, one crosses my mind as I write this, “Did you ever imagine we would be meeting like this?” It’s less of a question, and more of a statement. There’s just almost nothing to add. We are so familiar with one another, and yet so estranged. We don’t need or want anymore, nor do we wish it were different. It just is, and yet, we cannot say it never was.
Allow me to return to that moment where our eyes met on the train platform: we were like old friends who knew we didn’t necessarily care to run into one another. There was an understanding – it was a telepathic nod about the passing of time. Look at us, look where we are, look how close we stand. Despite all the history there was no awkwardness between us. Is it because we have been familiar before? Even so, what could that matter now? Or perhaps, it was the complete and total irrelevance we now pose to one another. That nothing could cause anxiety because nothing of you bears on me. No part of me remains with you. All that’s left is that melody; and as I said, I am not certain that it’s really being played in the background. I might be imagining it, supposing the near-deaf notes into existence.
I vaguely remember experiencing the surge of love for the first time – it made me mad and happy. It was cruel and joyful. And now what is left is that melody, and I can barely hear it. You see, dear Evan, My Stranger, love doesn’t live here anymore. I don’t know where it went, maybe it healed. Maybe I buried it. But I couldn’t have buried it. We only bury memories that are worthwhile to return to. While our memories were worthwhile, there is no purpose to return to them. It’s as if they are no longer ours. I would say they are gone, but how could they be if I also hear the distant hum of that melody at an octave lower than a whisper?
I have understood from this moment that the “loss” humans feel when love ends is but a vice of wanting guarantees of forever. We are blessed if love graces us a little longer than a moment. To believe that anything should be longer than it was is a misunderstanding of how the world works, and what life actually offers. It seems to me now we are all trying to escape the inevitable since we humans are addicted to love. Whether we mourn or long for love, it’s all metaphysical materialism. Our heart throbs like a parasite impatiently waiting to latch on to the familiar or to the unknown. I also realize now that there is never a “loss” of love. One cannot lose anything of love because it was never earned, or owned. It just was.
You said seven years ago, “I don’t want to lose our friendship.” We felt so close to each other that the thought of screwing up our relationship was scary. It’s so odd looking back now. Since we are no longer friends, and we are both okay. We can see now that there was never anything to be afraid of.
So back to you, My Stranger. At the end of our small talk you and I walk towards different train cars. The bell rings and the train lurches as it pulls us in the same direction. It is all so peculiar as I sit here and you are at most 100 feet away, since we have already waved goodbye.
I’m certain that the melody stopped when I said, “It was great to see you.”
And it truly was. Goodbye now.