Burning and Keeping

New category: Notes. For, well, typed-up stuff on my iPhone’s Notes app (which is probs my most used app, to be honest) that I dare publish.

Here’s one…

I was throwing away years-old junk from my drawers. Papers from school, mostly. My writing, mostly.

Then I found a love letter.

It was a crumpled sheet of intermediate paper, folded three times. “What’s this?” I thought absentmindedly as I unfolded it, ready to toss it to the trash pile. But then I got a peek and realized what it was, and my heart jumped. (And my stomach fluttered, and my nerve endings lit up…) And I literally had to throw the piece of paper to the floor. I didn’t even get to read beyond the first line, actually, but somehow, I remembered. Just a second before, I hadn’t even recalled it existed, but one glance at the handwriting was all it took. I remembered. All my body parts remembered. All the feelings zapped back. It was so overwhelming that I actually needed to break contact with the letter. Throwing it to the floor was almost a reflex. How crazy is that?

I guess this is what they mean when they say you never really forget. I have moved on (imagine me rolling my eyes as you read this because hell, have I moved on), but would you look at that. It seems every time I’ll come across that letter (and I say come across, not read, because I don’t think I could even manage to read that letter again hahaha) I guess I’ll always be tingly all over. That was a letter addressed to a different, younger me, and she’s not me anymore, but she’s still here. She’s still a part of me, and she still remembers.

After dropping the letter I laughed and laughed and laughed. Because oh my God, self! Sometimes I can’t believe that was you. And that was him. Crazy. Hilarious. Cringeworthy.

I don’t remember if I ever gave him my own letter. I know I wrote down some, a notebook full of them, but they were just written, never sent. I found that notebook some time back, actually. And you know what I did? I tore it to pieces and burned it. Which I realize sounds bitter, lol, but no… I was also laughing at myself when I did it. I don’t regret what happened, and I’m not trying to erase the past, and I actually find joy in knowing those feelings were felt, by me, at one point in time. But some things didn’t have to be written down. Especially not the way they were written down. So the burning – it wasn’t done in vengeance or denial or anything like that. It was more for… self-preservation. I was so blind and so specific and so naked in that notebook (bless my teenage naïvety) that the thought of someone else getting to read all of that was just… no way. NO WAY.

(I’ve never taken nudes but I guess that’s how it would feel like, owning naked photos you took of yourself. [Or in my case, too-revealing letters I wrote myself.] You’re not exactly ashamed of them, if you kept them, but you also feel this need to have total control over who could see them. And the only way you’re gonna be 100% sure they won’t ever be exposed to unintended eyes is to delete every living trace.)

So I burned the torn-up notebook.

And I contemplated burning the love letter too, this last remnant of a comical time long past, but in the end I decided not to. It’s not my writing after all. It was just sent to me. And call me egotistic, but it’s nice to have an artifact proving that at some point someone who actually existed actually fancied himself attracted to me. The concept is so absurd and funny to me now.

So I picked up the letter, and without reading the rest of it, I shoved it down a box full of other ones from friends. And continued laughing. And continued going through junk from my drawers.

The past sometimes interrupts the present, but as always, life goes on.

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