Coffee & Flowers: Open Letters & Instax Photos

This year I made the resolution not to keep a journal because I’d kept a journal for every year of my life since 1998 and it just seemed like too much: too many memories stacking themselves higher, growing more voluminous than yourself. It’s weird. But at the same time, I can’t quite accept the non-existence of some sort of documentation of what’s going on. It is important to remember, I think: it’s important to keep track—to know where you’re going, when you’re going, how.

As a result, I’ve decided that I’m going to begin taking photos and maybe writing things down again: writing open letters, maybe. Some of it will be kept here, other things will be kept on a notebook. With this month’s pay, I’m going to buy Instax film because for the past few months my camera has just been sitting at home, hanging out with my piggy bank (which is actually a jar). I can’t help but feel bad about these past few months which I’ve missed out on documenting through something concrete, something offline, something I can keep—although the point of not journal keeping was that exactly: to lessen the boxes I go through when I am feeling sentimental.

In high school, when YM and LiveJournal were the best ways to go (none of that fancy Facebook shiznit, harhar) I used to write a lot of open letters. This had to do with the fact that ye ole internet life was way more private in those days (seriously, back then the thought of sharing your blog was preposterous—like why would you upload your own scandal?) in as much as it had to do with my angst-filled 19-year-old brain. (2009 was 5 years ago—again, dafuqqq!). At the same time, though I feel like they were a really good way to be able to deal with stuff, regardless of whether or not they are seen by the person who sees them.

So. Here are some open letters:

  1. I heard (saw?) that you got married. Recently, I found an ancient blog of mine from that time when you and I used to chat over Yahoo! Messenger and you would scan old doodles from your notebooks (mostly one-paneled comic strips) and let me read them. I remember you telling me that pigs are one of the only mammals other than human beings capable of linear thinking and that if you gave them a golf ball and they saw a hole they would inevitably push the ball into the hole. I’m sure there are other things that I’ve forgotten—one thing I forgot about was the time that you and I were chatting and someone texted you that your profs had gotten into an accident: one of them died and the others were in the hospital. You said that you were “feeling your mortality”. Until I re-read my old blog, I’d completely forgotten about that. I wish that you had been nicer the last time I saw you. It was in 2011, I think when we bumped into each other in Taft and you started joking about being an old person who didn’t know his way around the area anymore. We walked around, ended up in Starbucks. You told me about how you fell in love with your girl best friend and how you’d gone through a lot that year. I told you about my professor who’d lost his mind. We swapped books (again), arranged to meet up the next day to catch up and trade books. I was looking forward to having a conversation with an old friend—which I really could’ve used at the time since not only was I dealing with my crazy teacher, there was also the fact that I was going through quite a terrible break up. But that next day, after I’d endured the commute into the city to meet up with an old friend there was your girlfriend, all eyebrows and niceties. You gave me my book back, said you’d read it. It was 400 + pages long. There were remains of food on the table: pizza crusts and deflated mojos. You asked if I’d eaten. I pretended to get a phone call, said I had to leave.  I’m about the same age now as you were, then. I wish I could be happy for you but I still think you made a mistake. Not the getting married part, the not staying friends with people part.
  2. Every time that my friend R and I meet up, we always end up talking about you, even if only tangentially. We talk about things we could have done to prevent what happened, we talk about what we did wrong, what you did wrong, we talk about how much we hate you. We talk about how we all started out loving you—how we thought you were the cat’s pajamas. And in the end we reach the same, old conclusion: that we should let this thing slide. It’s been years. But are years ever truly enough to mitigate hurt? We all know they can’t (always) and they don’t (always)—we know that they should.
  1. Sometimes it really is like talking to a stranger: you are there but you are not. Is the question perhaps, whether you were ever there to begin with? Sometimes, I like to think that we have gone down separate paths—you, always wanting to forget; me, always fearing that I will. I think the main difference lies in the outlook on pain: I have always been something of a masochist. Or at least, someone who is in agreement with the Imp in that if you never forget who and what you are, you can use whatever it is as armor. And you have always been the one most likely to get addicted to downers: if you don’t feel it, it doesn’t matter. To some extent, I think you may have the better end of it. Still I would like to think things aren’t better or worse, only different.
  1. Stay, stay, stay.
  1. I wish you guys would talk to me for something other than to ask me questions. I know that maybe you really need the answers to these things but it would be nice to hear something other than FAQ. Google enjoys that probably, but not I. People are not search engines. I deal in conversations, in stories, not in keywords and hits and information. It’s just information.
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