I know what drives it. I know what my reasons are. But, I lie to myself.
I know I want to. I know I shouldn’t. Yet, I try to convince myself.
My comm unit perches in my left hand. It is twenty-four months old, and has felt both of those years. Beneath the protective case the underside is cracked – the legacy of a drunken hookup; an unknown woman that I in a small, underground bar, about a year ago. We danced to live music, we kissed. I dropped my comm, it cracked. We went back to mine. I don’t remember much of the sex, though I think it was quite good. She had brown hair, that is all I remember of her. She was sweet, though.
The screen of the unit is scratched, slightly, but the device still works. The case is utilitarian, providing an attachment point for a mount that I use when I ride, and sometimes when I run. The screen is also smudged with the layers of finger-grease that builds up from daily use; tapping and swiping, grasping and touching.
I’ve been idly browsing on it, this afternoon and tonight. Reading incoming messaging, scanning data feeds, checking the latest world news. Watching the spread of a viral outbreak as it crosses the globe. Reading the panicked reactions within digital communities. Assessing how much is accurate, how much is hyperbole, how much is downright intentional misinformation.
I’ve been heavily using the chat rooms today, talking and chiming in on conversations that largely ignore me. The battery of the comm has suffered from the unusual attention, but that is okay. My goal is not to be heard. My goal is to down out myself.
I’ve searched the social feed, and her name is there. One click, and I could message her. One click, and I could say hello. I know I could, and I know she is a nice enough person that she’d be friendly and reply. My comm would light up in reply, where now it lies dark.
But I shouldn’t. She’s happy, content in her love for another. To say hello would be to reach into a world that exists outside of what we once had, to cast a stone into waters better undisturbed. Untidy memories would swirl and rise, even as the quiet, serene reflections on the surface were broken. It is a thing best left alone, for it cannot be what I wish it was. Like the surface of a pond, what is seen is just a reflection that does not exist.
I miss her as a lover, and I miss her as my friend. I miss having a connection and understanding with another. In the years of dating, since, I have never found its like – when I was at my worst, a year ago, it was only in part due to the failure of my career. It was also the absence of such a close person.
I presume, one day, I will meet someone else who I find to be such good company. Not a replacement, just… someone different, who I want to be around, and who wants to be around me. A new relationship; built on new connections, new common grounds, new experiences together. I look forward to that. But sometimes, in this place without, I feel the yearn.
I know that I would be saying hello for the wrong reason, a greeting disguised as catching up. But I know I would be trying to fill a void that cannot be filled by her. So I resist my urge, and try to be aware of the reasoning, despite the lies I tell myself.
It will pass. It did before, and it will again. It wouldn’t even arise, another in my life to be excited about, but that is not to be – for as far forward as I can see.
So I must master myself. I must be my better self.