People Haunt Weird Places, Drink Weird Things

The summer of 2014 was strange. I was a sophomore in high school. You were still alive. There are some things I remember more than others.

(2019. much later.)

Dandelion root tea. Buddhism (an attempt). Snap pea crisps. Socks and sandals and iced water out of mason jars. Rebirth. Writing poems every day. Comfort in the familiar. Looking up fun facts about ocean life. Hammerhead shark trivia. Tamagotchis. Video games on the Nintendo Three Dee Ess.

Something between youth and adulthood. Not an adult, not a child; I found comfort in nostalgic things, juxtaposed with “real life.”

When things got dicey, I took extra of my benzodiazepines, then none at all for weeks. I tried to explain to my therapist why I felt so old, like some crumbling decaying thing, but couldn’t get the courage to say it with my chest.

Sitting in her office, I would repeat to myself: if she gets it, then she gets it, and she will be talking to me in this flowery vague way, too. And if she doesn’t, then nothing changes. Another hour of my life wasted entirely.

Who even cares?

Maybe if I had been more direct, this wouldn’t hurt still.

I drank weird, fruity drinks with bloated chia seeds suspended in them. I sat in the forest, on this one particular log. Stared at the moss and the grass and the bugs. I was terrified of bugs then, but I let them crawl on me. I scared myself on WebMD when their stings would puff up. It’s an alright way to die, compared to others, or that’s what I had to tell myself so I didn’t lose my shit.

My friends and I would sit in the woods on the weekend, and talk and drink. Sometimes fruity fermented teas, sometimes beer. Sometimes vodka, straight from the bottle. It depended on the subject matter. But if I bought an Icee from the gas station, I always bought two. I wouldn’t ever leave them out like that. We’d just sit and talk and talk.

There was this feeling that followed me everywhere, because I was reaching a finish line of sorts; at eighteen, the world would be my oyster. This excited me. This calmed me down through the worst of nights. Whatever was going on now didn’t matter; I’d be alright, if I just waited. A few years, and then it’d feel alright.

This inability to cope with the present was my downfall later, but in the moment, it soothed me. I felt suspended in a bubble. The thought of a future I could mold entirely to my will was a healing salve. I chased this feeling for a long time; the relief of pain feeling better.

I wonder often if the sun, that year, was brighter on purpose. I wonder if it’s a problem of the past or a problem of me now. I lay in bed. I lay in the sun. I lay in the grass. I lay on the bathroom floor. The sun doesn’t reach me like it used to — inside or out, things are muted and dull.

The technical term is anhedonia; the lack of ability to feel pleasure. A potential symptom of a lot of different things. I don’t think too much about this, because it means nothing to me. After all, what good is having a word to express it? I already know how it feels.

But anyways, I just wanted to say that I saw you. I saw you

in a dream last night. You were in the forest, laughing at something I said. I had a brief moment there, suspended in time, where I felt it again: the sun felt warmer, brighter, like it had back

then.

Things were different then. I think you are the only person who remembers it so clearly.

But it’s not you, is it? I ask myself this again and again, but I never find the answers.

I miss you, my friend, and that feeling, just

drinking weird shit out of mason jars.

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