I press play, tense, ready for the flood of emotion.
It doesn’t come.
The opening bars are familiar, and I smile, thinking of my younger self getting kick-ass vibes. Then I remember going from relationship to relationship, searching for the kind of love that I still long for.
I still like the song. I press repeat as it ends.
This time, the opening bars make me want to cry.
I don’t remember her. I’ve forgotten her voice. I do remember her face, her hair… her personality. Had I met her, I’m sure it would have filled whole rooms.
But I don’t remember her as a whole person. She’s become shattered fragments of memory, snapshots of a love that my brain has stopped me from remembering.
The first person I loved. The first girl.
I wonder, not for the first time, if she remembers me.
If she’d recognise me if we passed on the street, if she’d call out the name she knew me by.
I doubt it. My face has changed so much. I like to think I’d recognise her, straight away, but… I’m not so sure.
We became friends five years ago, and parted after two.
Three years since I left her.
Three years in which I’ve thrown myself into another relationship, crawled out of it, and fallen ridiculously in love with someone that now hates the ground I stand on and the very marrow of my bones.
Ten months since the person I still long for left.
Time has stretched out like elastic, making space for more change in me than I had thought possible in that time. It’s also pinged back in place too fast for me to process, as elastic is wont to do.
Now I feel like I’ve run five marathons at top speed, without rest, and only in the past few months have I been allowed to rest.
Now, my last test. A video she made me.
This one scares me more than the song.
Fifteen seconds of heartbreak. It was pictures of us. Not together, because we didn’t meet.
She was, and no doubt still is, painfully beautiful.
My biggest wish right now is that I could find her, and tell her I’m sorry. That I was too young to see how beautiful she was, that I didn’t know who I was.
I wish I could speak to her again.