It’s strange to have your thoughts linger on someone for a time just to have them contact you directly. No words between us for years and then, out of the blue, a message. Hey, is all it says. What do I do? Delete it. There’s never no good in dragging up the past. I still think about doing that some days. But the reasons for which we haven’t spoken aren’t deep in my mind. All I need to do is begin to recall the last time we saw each other. Manipulation is such a difficult thing to deal with. When you’re being manipulated it’s difficult to know. You can’t see past the person manipulating you. Their words, their actions, their tears look real, feel real, are real. But what they don’t even understand is that they’ve trapped you in being the bad guy short of doing the one thing you cannot do to make them happy. And even that is a fallacy as it isn’t your job, it wasn’t my job to change the way she thought and felt. Putting that kind of responsibility on anyone is outrageous. Who you are by yourself isn’t you are while with someone. It isn’t who you are around friends or family. It isn’t who you are at work. Our personalities are malleable when it comes to social situations. Determining where self is between all these social situations is immensely difficult, if not impossible. I do not claim to have an answer. I am a different self around different groups of friends. As I see it, I fulfill different archetypal roles in each. To by boyhood friends I am a goof, perhaps the wise fool. The guy who is always down to party, adventure. The one who speaks without thinking. The one who just goes with the flow more often than not. At school, work on my MFA, I am known as Young Alex. Since we only meet in person once every six months, I’m still learning Young Alex. I learned just some weeks ago that Young Alex is prone to social bamboozles with his best friends there. I learned that Young Alex has become a slower and more precise speaker in the classroom. I learned that other students actually listen to what Young Alex has to say. I am not just a wise fool in that setting, but what I am there I’m still unsure. In Bellingham I am the scholar. Both of my roommates are cooks at the local brewery. I spend my days sitting on couches reading, writing, critiquing. I read Cormac McCarthy and Gabriel Garcia Marquez and have deep thoughts about the function of fiction. I rarely stay up past 11 and wake at 7:30 each and every day to write in the peaceful morning hours. I am dedicated. Looking back, who I was to her was nothing I can understand. That’s being in love, I suppose. The problem was, as is so often the case, that we both had ideas of who the other person was–of who we wanted them to be so that we would could love each other. But we are who are in different situations. I couldn’t give up the wise fool and be the scholar all the time anymore than I can sprout wings and fly, as much as I might like.

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