On Not Having a Past

On Friday I went to lunch with a friend.  He was a mutual friend, so I felt uncomfortable at the beginning.  I didn’t know what to say.  Would he bring him up?  Would he ask what happened?  I launched into nervous chatter about travel and faraway places.  That’s my go to – places I want to see one day.  The future is easy to talk about.

He wasn’t uncomfortable, and he did bring him up.  He asked how I was doing, the way most people have been asking, and I gave him the answer I give everyone now.  ”Great.  Just getting into the swing of things.”

And then he told me all the reasons why I should be happy.

It’s crazy that you can date someone for so long and never know the person.  I didn’t know he was capable of X and Y.  I slept soundly as he did Z and B.  I didn’t know because I am, and hope to always be, a dreamer and a romantic.  I trust people, and I felt that all slip away with each new story of nights where he went to sleep early.  ”Stop,” I said after a particularly detailed story.  ”Stop.  This isn’t what I need to hear.”

“I’m sorry,” he said, “I just want you to know you’re better off.”

I shook my head and I felt my eyes tear up.  I didn’t want to know this.  It was ruining the past, it was making everything we had not real.

And with that thought, the sadness I was feeling started to fade away.

When I got home, I texted him and told him what I had found out.  He responded that he was enjoying his weekend in New York with his friends, that we could talk later.

We will not talk later.

I realize that knowing now what I know has changed everything.  It has ruined the past.  It has erased the past.  The past seems like such an illusion now.  It made me think about why it’s easier to get over sad things when you’re young.  I get it now.

Kids don’t have a past.  They live a present, because the past is so short and the present is such a larger space.  As we get older, the past gets longer, and the present shrinks as our thoughts become focused on what used to be.  That’s why I, while he partied with his friends, spent my time in my room smoking joints and listening to sad songs.  It was nicer to think of what used to be, instead of what is.

But now, I do not have a past.  I am forced to accept that I do not really know what I was doing the last two years.  I was wandering around somewhere, lost, and now I am not.  Trying to get the answers is pointless.  It didn’t matter anyway.  It will not affect the now, the way it was, because the past I was clinging to never existed.  The love, the friendship, the experience was in my mind, and now my mind is clear.

I think the hardest step in moving on is forgetting.  That’s what time does.  It doesn’t heal anything.  It just makes more of a past, and gives your mind something else to think about.  I’m trying to skip that step.  Knowing the facts now I can forget the past, because it no longer will affect my future.  The monster I thought I was in love with…can only exist now in an imaginative past that I create.  Because I create it, it is like a lucid dream.  The monster is gone now, and it is time to wake up.

I will copy a kid now, because they have it figured out.  I am thankful that I know the truth, because now I can face it in the present, instead of trying to solve puzzles in the past.

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