I kept thinking about what you said that day. You had shifty eyes and you…

I kept thinking about what you said that day.

You had shifty eyes and you kept looking for something to preoccupy you, and you were partly pausing because maybe somehow there’s a lingering thought telling you to stop, no, you’ve said too much. You have unravelled more than you’ve potentially allowed, like a web of facts randomly thrown out and hanging in space, waiting for someone’s finger to trace a line and connect the dots. You were tired. You were lost. You were sitting there and possibly wondering why you’re still talking.

I would have been glad to tell you that you were charming and polite and that I appreciated the company, but you were too lost in being worried, too lost in being a clinical diagnosis. I would wonder how much of these were told to random strangers like prepared lines that you found to work best in such situations, but I found in your stalling an unmistakeable sincerity, verified by the curling of your eyebrows trying to understand the sense of each word your lips tried hard not to let go. I would think it was because you had too much coffee, but you would send a letter the next morning repeating half the facts you mentioned that afternoon, and I know they were driven by emotions or the stifling thereof.

“I didn’t want to be happier,” you would say. “I just wanted to be a different person.”

It must have been tough, I would later think, being in a situation that’s supposed to help you forget but it keeps reminding you that you were pushed in that direction because you NEEDED to forget. Everyone tells you they understand, and you’ve been wearing your heart in your sleeve and people are overstepping boundaries and you don’t know who to believe. It’s easy to come up with a grand notion of who you might be and everyone assumes a stereotype of you, while you’ve been deftly trying to defend in the past years that you’re not JUST this, this…whomever this may be.

But that day, you were simply lost and spewing emotions hoping to connect. You were wearing an old comfy sweater and black jeans and equally old pair of sneakers, with headphones hanging on your neck that looked like it could cover half your face–a tactic that comes with trying to get lost in the crowd, I imagine. You looked spent but you still wanted to see more. If only you could have stretched your energy as well, you would probably be up and running again, but your coffee shots felt more like temporary fuel bursts than long term drive. We talked about our love of our hometown’s personality and feeling marginalized, and you talked about German wines and more coffee. You told me about what happened that year your life changed.

You will be fine, I wanted to offer, but I’m sure you didn’t need to hear that. I wanted to say everything felt heavy when I was in that sort of situation as well years ago, but you wouldn’t want to hear that either. What you simply needed was to perhaps say things out loud to someone you can leave the details to and not worry about something significant to happen afterwards. You just needed to let it out and perhaps hear things for yourself.

I wanted to hug you, offer comfort if I could. But I know that what’s possibly weirder than telling your emotions to a stranger would be receiving a hug from same stranger.

But. Thanks for trusting me with your secrets.

I hope you feel better soon.

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