Hey dude, I know your birthday is coming up and I was thinking of you. Sorry we lost touch. Just wanted to say hi.
Hey dude, Your birthday is coming up and sometimes I think about you, and about reaching out to say hey.
I’ve been back to San Francisco once since that time we were supposed to hang out and you ghosted me, and then I never texted you again because I was mad you couldn’t find time for an old friend. That was pretty shitty.
Hey buddy, I thought of you last year when my ex posted on Facebook they were moving to Sacramento to teach at UC Davis. I almost reached out but it’s been nine years.
Anyway I was thinking about that time I visited you in Davis and how you fixed my car with duct tape after the dust cover fell off again. You were always doing nice things like that, with no expectation. You were a good friend.
You lied to Michele, because you were embarrassed you never graduated and she was so smart, a water engineer or something, plus you cheated on her with Cindy and some other women too. I was glad when you dumped her, because I started feeling complicit in your lies, and that didn’t feel good.
I guess I should have said something to you, but people don’t speak to each other that openly in San Francisco, and for you it was kind of a compliment: you didn’t see me like a girl and so you never used me.
Hey buddy, It’s been a long time, but I was thinking of you. Hope you’re well.
Who’s that woman in your Gmail profile pic?
Did you settle down?
Did you and Ely get divorced?
Did she die?
Or did you realize she was only pretending to have brain cancer because she didn’t want to lose you?
Whatever it is, I hope it’s good things. Sometimes I Google you, but your name is too common, so I can never tell what you’re up to.
Hey, I feel like an asshole for losing touch.
I guess I felt a responsibility to keep you in my chosen family, because you’d been estranged from your family since before we met. I’m estranged from my dad now, going on nine years, and that makes me feel worse about not emailing or texting or calling you, even though no one calls anyone these days.
I know you didn’t have a lot of people is what I mean, and I know I was one of them, and then life got busy for both of us, or something. I didn’t mean for nine years to pass but I never could figure out what to say.
You emailed me five months after you ghosted to wish me a merry christmas, but I hate Christmas, so I probably wasn’t in the best mood when I got the email.
Hey You, miss you. Hope you’re well. Happy almost birthday.
My life is pretty normal now. I got out of the industry, I have a wife, and I’m almost done paying off my student loans.
It’s funny, even though so much time has passed, in my mind you’re still the same: bartending at the airport bar, dating too many Asian girls at the same time, and living in that crap apartment out in Vis Valley, the one where you made me come inside the 7‑Eleven so you could buy smokes because it wasn’t safe to wait in the car.
I get it now, about the girls: you needed someone to love you. You needed someone to see you.
I feel bad for hurting you, but I don’t think twice about hurting myself.
Lindsey Danis is a travel writer living in the Hudson Valley whose writing has appeared in AFAR, Longreads, and Brain Mill Press Voices. More information is at lindseydanis.com or @lindseydanis.