Do you remember the year that broke us both?
Or, as I thought of it for a long time, the year that broke me?
I remember both of us coming out of that year different, me a little quieter, a little bit more uncomfortable in my skin, and you – you so bold and, from how I saw it, so strong. You with your endless string of broken loves and your partying habits that I saw as romantic, as thrilling, not as what they were.
I used to envy you so much.
I used to think that you were better than me. Well, to be fair, I used to think everyone was better than me, but you… you, in particular, caught my eye. Because, on the surface, you were everything that I wasn’t. You were outspoken. You had plenty of friends, and a place to go every Friday night. You had amusing drunken stories, and I had nothing but long, lonely nights spent with a slice of pizza in one hand and a TV remote in the other.
I knew that you were in pain, but it took me a long time to realize how your pain mirrored my own. It took me a long time to realize that, yes, you were a flood and I was a freeze, but at the end of the day, we were both the same. Both destructive, both broken. Both slowly trying to kill ourselves, in our own special ways.
Do you even realize that everything we did was the same? I mean, yes, you had your endless string of romances and I had Moulin Rouge on repeat, but it was the exact same pain. The same fear of getting close to someone, of being accepted for who we were. You dealt with it your way and I dealt with it mine, but it wasn’t any different. We were never any different.
We took different weapons to ourselves, but they were weapons nonetheless. Yours was alcohol – and you poured it down your throat as though it were water and you were lost in a desert. I used to think that made you interesting, that somehow, your intoxication meant that you had lived more than I had, as though my own sobriety was keeping me from experiencing some grande life event. So I’d go home, and rather than pour alcohol down my throat, I’d slice thin, red lines into my white skin. It was the same thing. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I do now. I understand that we both wanted to kill ourselves, but neither of us wanted to admit it.
I hear you’re doing better now. I don’t know for certain because we don’t talk anymore, but I’m glad. I’m doing better too. You found someone to love, and I found something to love, and we’re both still here despite ourselves.
Still, I wonder if you know. I wonder if you look back on who I was, on the broken girl you knew, and I wonder how you think of me. Do you still think of me as broken? Or was I ever broken to you at all? I envied you for your glow, but maybe you envied me for my quiet determination.
Do you remember those days the way I do?
Do you even realize how similar we were?
Or do you think of those days at all?
Do you even remember me?