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The Idea of Her

October 14th, 2021


When people ask you, you have to say it’s great. When you’re new, there’s no one you can confide in about something like this -- not right away. In reality, it isn’t great. I hate it and honestly I’m beginning to hate her, too.

It’s amazing how little self-respect I must’ve had to think that just wanting someone I could hold a six-minute conversation with was too much to ask for. The five-minute threshold — that was plenty. I tried to convince myself it was cute. Well, not convince myself — more just ignore the blatant details. It’s cute that we’re trying our hardest to fall in love, but the obvious point is that we need to try. Nothing comes naturally. We’ve ended up drafting questions to ask each other to keep our conversations going, though, in my lonesome, I must confess that I wish to refrain from the project. If I’m gonna be honest, I just don’t find her all that interesting.

So how did it start? I remember when we first hung out together. It was maybe a week after we met? Whatever it was, we moved way too fast from the get go. I think the arrangement was, since we both had good music taste, that we would have a playlist competition. It was childish but basically we would have a week to make a killer playlist and the loser would have to buy pizza for the both of us. Honestly, I feel like she took advantage of the situation. I was new and needed a friend so she just swooped in and started this stupid romantic charade. We never even decided on a judge for it so I’m not sure how she expected it to work. I let her win, though. I remember how excited she got.

I remember when we were sitting by the water eating the pizza. When we started listening to music on her iPod, how she rested her head on my shoulder. I remember her humming the tune. I remember when she kissed me for the first time.

I’ll admit it. I liked her then. But there was something that clicked when I got in the cab on the way home -- that I didn’t want this. And it’s not like I can precisely describe it. I wanted to love her, I don’t doubt it. But in my confused feelings of irritation and nostalgia I couldn’t help but hope that the relationship would end. This terrible feeling that I knew she wasn’t the one. I could try to describe what I didn’t like -- how she’s immature. But at the end of the day, it was just this terrible unwritable feeling.

I can feel Nietzsche screaming at me, but I’m succumbing to hope again. I keep hoping that she’ll stop seeing so much in me. Hoping that she’ll cheat on me. Hoping that she’ll hate me. Her breaking up with me would just be so much more convenient. It’s just too hard.

Now all this comes around to me sounding like a pretty big jerk. Should I just keep pretending that I like it? It’s not like I can’t. I’ve always been good at faking it. I’ve always loved wallowing in my own anguish in order to pretend that I’m some tortured movie character. I can continue living like this.

But that’s not fair. No one deserves fake love like that. Especially someone like her.


You can imagine the heartache. Not just the breakup but the anticipation of it. Few things in life had made me feel worse. The process wasn’t as dramatic as I wished it would be. I told her that I didn’t feel like I could be who she wanted me to be. I wanted her to get mad and yell at me about how I was a bad person -- that way I could write it off as her being a child. But all I can remember is the sight of her about to cry. The whimpering “okay” she barely managed to force out. Her silent departure afterward. I got on the bus, thinking it over -- regretting it all.

“Thank you. I think you’re right” -- six words that hurt so much. Bizarre because that was what I was hoping would be reciprocated. Somehow saying it out loud, putting it in writing -- making it all the more real -- that’s when it hurt. I didn’t respond to the text, feeling like it would start an argument.

I had to avoid her throughout the day. Felt like a jerk. I went to bed and, contrary to my own belief, felt that sinking in my stomach. That ache. An unwritable thing. Deep down I knew it: I just didn’t want to feel alone. A relationship, no matter how you treat it, serves as a way of distracting yourself from that piercing feeling of solitude. The sad reality is that I’ve always been alone. No one could possibly know the depths of me. I don’t think anyone wants to.

But it’s nice, though -- to ignore it. In a relationship you get to think: this is my person. A sense of community -- the wholesome feeling that maybe you aren’t entirely unique -- helps you get by. Worth isn’t something I’ve had too much trouble dealing with. But having someone -- that makes you feel wanted, which is somehow a very separate feeling operating in the same category. I want to be self-sufficient but deep down, I’d hate to need to be.


I like it. It feels good in its own twisted way. The loss. The sinking feeling that I know oh so well. It sounds depressing but I’ve known it for so long that it feels like it’s a part of me. Sadly, it’s getting easier. The pain isn’t as crippling and thoughts of her are decreasing. I’m realizing that this could be the last emotion I have for her. Letting go of this sadness, moving on — that would be the true goodbye. That’s a scary thought.

My slow departure from this feeling is turning into what I realize is departure from the idea of her — what I loved in the first place. A romantic with exceptional taste in music. A girl with such a sweet voice who smiled with her whole face. Eyes just the right shade of brown. That sinking feeling — I wish it could last forever.

But it can’t. And it’s for the better. That’s what I’m saying to people. Yes, it’s for the better.

I know what I need to do just to avoid dying like this. I need to go back -- be self-sufficient again. I can’t base my happiness on something outside of myself because that’s how I keep getting let down. But I know I’ll do it again and I know I’ll get worse again. I don’t know if I’ll ever get better. I don’t know if I’ll want to.

Still. If I lose this independence, I’ll have nothing. Deep down I know it’ll get easier. I have to keep going. I have to keep trying. I have to. I have to. I have to.

Hope. I used to curse it as escapism that makes us worse off. But what are we without it? Little more than machines drifting about, going through the motions. I felt that today, walking home. I remember my eyes were glued to the ground, by myself again. I stared at their shadows. I remember taking comfort in everyone being the same. That with each person I could achieve the same sublime feeling of despair. I caught myself crying.

Just get through one more day, see where you are then. Just another. Just another. That delay -- that hope. Someday it could get better, and I want to be there if it does. That’s enough.

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