It’s been a while since we’ve talked. Long enough that you don’t seem familiar to me anymore when we start talking. I can’t quite anticipate the rhythm of your words, your pauses, and find an easy place to dance with you in it.
I keep guessing and guessing wrong.
Which is wild to me. Since I knew you for years. We spent a lot of time together. And for a while, you were the only person I really talked to.
Once upon a time, I would have identified you as the person who knew me best.
And now, we don’t seem to know each other at all. Not in that easy way where someone feels familiar.
There’s an arrogance about you. About the way you make your points. And the way you interface with the person you’re talking to. It’s as though you’re looking to score points. To win conversations.
But there’s no judge to award you anything.
As you do it, I wonder why I didn’t notice that before. I think it was easier not to notice back then. I was less confident. Blamed myself for every problem that arose, every discomfort. Because I wanted it to be my fault so I could fix it.
In a way, I was always making it about me, too. Not in quite the same way you were. You wanted to win. I wanted it to be my fault (so arguably, I wanted just as hard to lose). But still, either way we got there, we both ended up as saboteurs due to our self-centeredness.
I find myself wondering what you make of the conversation we’re having. I know it’s grating on me. And that I find myself wondering how I could have ever wanted to talk to someone like this. That it’s more uncomfortable than the chats I have with even distant friends. That you’re less fun to talk to than an acquaintance.
I don’t ask you how you feel. But you’ve always been pretty good at telling me. (Some might call you blunt.)
And as expected you give me an unprompted answer, of a sort, to a question I haven’t asked.
“I forgot how exhausting you are to talk to,” you say.
You tell me I say a lot and it’s not always easy to follow. That I overload you. That I’m too much.
It’s something you told me in the past, back when we were still together. And back then, I took it to heart. Thought it meant that there was something wrong with me. That I was objectively annoying — and would be so to anyone else.
But I’ve learned since then that plenty of people don’t think I’m exhausting at all. Plenty of people go out of their way to talk to me. Think I’m fascinating, insightful, kind.
And so your finding me exhausting really isn’t about me alone — but about the combination of you and me.
So this time, I don’t apologize. Instead I laugh. And I leave the conversation when it naturally ends.
We don’t seek each other out again in the future. Because I think we’ve learned why some things should stay in the past.
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