Subject Line: Hello, From An Old Friend
How have you been? You’ve been in my thoughts lately and I have been wondering about whether I should write you. Mainly because I’m curious about how you are and whether you are well. It must be strange to hear from me six years after we last saw each other. Strange, but oh what the hell. So, how the hell are you?
I suppose if I had to guess at my motive for writing you, it might be that it’s taken me this long to process my feelings about you, the breakup, our years together and make sense of my own thoughts and inclinations. I’ve been known to procrastinate, so I’m sorry this is coming six years late. Or maybe, it is just right on time.
The last time we corresponded on email, it was a disaster. I had written you about your new girlfriend then and wished you well and it ended up in a familiar battle of our wits, and with me almost immediately deleting your last email reply upon seeing it arrive in my inbox. I regret to say I did not read it and to this day, I wonder what it said.
From time to time, I wondered if I would bump into you walking by a café, waiting by the traffic lights at a crossroads or walking to the Muni station downtown. Once or twice, I had passed by our old apartments, the one at 1414 and the other at 2832, and stopped for a while and did a double take. I would peek into the wine bar at the corner of Pacific and Hyde, with rays of sun in my line of vision, and I could almost see us sitting in there chatting up the Argentine bar owner. It wasn’t always pleasant of course as we fought a lot, but something about it always seems bittersweet. Like something that had so much promise, but like everything else in life, fades into a recessed part of your storage closet gathering dust and surfacing sometimes as the thing that was.
After our last impasse, I wiped out any trace of you in our online communications as I had done so many times before, with you and with your predecessors. The loss of that correspondence, yours and otherwise, gives me pause sometimes. At times for vanity reasons, as some of those letters are so well conceived and crafted, I wished I had kept them for my treasure trove. Where perhaps when I’m old, I would read them and laugh at the foolishness of our youth. Most other times, my heart aches at the hole left in my soul while I try to cover that hole with a placebo.
I still play the same tunes on the piano. A couple years ago, I sold your digital piano, perhaps as a last ditch effort to get rid of any trace of you. But yet, I still play the same tunes on the piano and like clockwork, the cats huddle around as I try to play the Nocturne with clumsy right-hand fingerwork. Some of my best memories of those early years in San Francisco were of that piano, of those wonderfully elegiac and romantic tunes against the backdrop of the effervescent Golden Gate Bridge. Do you recall how the fog sometimes sits under the bridge and at other times, the sky seems like a technicolor dreamcoat of gradients? I guess as they say, this is the stuff that dreams are made of.
Are you happy? I hope you are, with my whole heart, I hope you are in a happy place with someone who makes you happy. Because even though things did not work out between us, you will always be synonymous with my early years in San Francisco and the person who gave me a taste of life and encouraged me to live to my potential. Even when I gave up on myself, you didn’t for the longest time. And because of that, and many opportunities for self-reflection, I am living to my potential. I am the lightest I have ever felt, and by all counts, I am a happy-ish person who relishes everything in my life and am grateful for the little things that come my way. I have become very close to the person I always knew I had the potential to become.
I guess I am writing because it feels strange not to be connected to someone who has been such a seminal influence in my life. I have the feeling I would regret it for the rest of my life if our last encounter was the closing chapter of our story. Would you be open to catching up? More than anything, I would love to know you’re okay, find out a little about your journey the last few years, and tell you a little bit about my journey over the last few years, how I’ve made something of myself, and how life is pretty good and chill these days. I have no ulterior motive, except perhaps to fulfill this last bit of curiosity so I don’t carry it to the grave.
Let me know your thoughts. It would be so wonderful to catch up 🙂
P.S. As I write this and press send, O is meowing insistently at me. Cats have a way of knowing things, don’t they? O and I are well.