It is so much safer not to feel, not to let the world touch me.
Have you ever been having a perfectly good time, laughing with friends or at out at some party, when you see something that just takes you back? It doesn’t matter how much fun you were having before, whatever you saw or heard or smelled, it brought you back. And suddenly you are in a different time and place with entirely different feelings and emotions and it’s hard to believe that what you are remembering was so long ago.
Sometimes I will be out walking around and a song will come on to some distant speakers and I feel my stomach drop because I know that song and that song shouldn’t be playing so nonchalantly out of some stupid sound system of the store nearby. It should be blasting from my best friend’s car windows on a late summer night or careening out of the vocal chords of a drunken stranger on New Years. It should *not* be played as some silly background music to fill the silence while people shop. And I feel like I want to throw up because no matter now hard I try to ignore it, I can’t fight the feeling that this particular song doesn’t belong to this moment. I feel selfish because I want it to only exist in my memory and I want to yell because the people around me don’t know the significance of this particular melody and they never will.
Sometimes I will be spending time on my own, just reading or doing homework on some patio and no matter how absorbed I am in my book or studying, something will catch my eye and instantly I am reminded of someone else. Maybe it’s the way the girl to my left holds her cigarette, or maybe it’s how the barista parts his hair, either way, whatever it is, I recognize it. And it feels wrong. It feels wrong for this perfect stranger to be doing something so similarly to someone I once knew and cared about. And I grit my teeth and look away because it doesn’t matter how long ago I saw the person in question or how I feel about them now, I am still reminded of him or her and I can’t just ignore the burning recognition in the back of my mind.
Sometimes I will be out with new friends or at some social gathering, having fun and meeting strangers, and it doesn’t matter how happy or drunk or excited I am feeling, something like the scent of a bonfire will fill the air and for a moment, I won’t be able to breathe. It will feel like the earth has been ripped out from under me and that I have lost all sense of self-control because the last time the air smelled like that, I was with an entirely different group of people or in some place I can only visit in memories now. So I swallow the lump in my throat and breathe through my mouth until my hands stop shaking, but the ache in my chest doesn’t go away.
So please bear with me when my fingers leap to change the radio station during certain songs because even though my body is in the here and now, my mind has been pulled into some distant place.
And sometimes it might take a moment, but I promise I will always come back.
I met someone today who walks like you and I swear I’ve never felt emptier.
In first grade we had a boy who recently moved to America from Korea, he mostly only said pikachu. One day he got so frustrated with the teacher he flipped his desk and they had to call out the principal, instead the assistant principal came. She dragged the boy out of the room while he was biting her wrist. He was a god, and all us first graders talked about him for days and years to come throughout elementary. Legendary.