Every once in a while, someone from my past will creep up into my mind and I will find myself scouring the internet for references to them.
Where are you working now?
Who are you loving?
The question that I always want to answer is a simple one.
Did I matter?
I find myself poring over the faces of people they have chosen in the years intervening. In the parenthetical space between knowing and unknowing. In the time it takes for a person to become emotional research rather than emotional expenditure.
There is a dusty old feeling to this motion. This knee jerk response. Something in my emotional DNA. Like whales migrating, I walk the pattern that is the cyclical absence and return of thoughts and feelings.
You come to mind.
I Google you.
I look at old pictures that show up. Sometimes I’m in them. I reflect on whatever masochism drew me to do this to myself.
I think about who I was when I was with you. I wonder who the people you are surrounded by are. What they are like. I wonder about the person you are loving the most. How they shift and change themselves to fit into the nooks and crannies of you that always need filling. How they pour themselves over the mold made of your flaws.
Do they thrill you?
Are you happy?
I worry my old loves like old wounds. Bruises that never get the chance to heal because of continual pressure. Blood that never dissipates. Scars that never lose their angry redness.
After I have looked at the last public picture. Perused the last blog entry or Facebook status, I sit back. I log out. And I let you fade.
Sometimes that makes the bruises look less angry. Sometimes the opening of old wounds relieves the tension.
Sometimes it doesn’t.
My questions never get answered, no matter the case. I want to know if I mattered. And I know it’s irrelevant. I know that, in the years that have passed between the first uttering of that question and this last riotous uprising, all the weight of whether I mattered has gone out of the question.
But I want to know.