The Way We Used To Be


He clung onto ideas like air; a worn down notepad kept snug in his back pocket was proof of his desperate and voracious thoughts. He wrote with a pointed hunger; every three seconds, he popped out a pen from his front pocket and the notepad from his back. Every three seconds he’d scribble down another thought, as if the world would end if he stopped.

He lived between two worlds at any given moment—the one we shared, and one trapped inside his head; A world full of ghosts— hauntings of missed moments and unsaid words; of un-had adventures and regrets.

We used to talk. Adventures and dreams connected our worlds by a tiny wooden door, always kept wide open. We used to laugh together, and there was nothing that could separate us.

I remember him telling me about these moments, how they would inevitably come and go—and how I would be helpless to stop them. Sometimes the world gets heavy, and that’s how he deals with it. The first time, I was able to get him to talk—to show me those tiny little thoughts he wrote down in his even tinier notepad.

Not this time.

Now, he won’t even look at me.

Now, we sit.

In silence, I sit next to him in this dim, smoky bar counting each thought and waiting; Waiting for the clouds to part— for a glimpse of hope to show that we’re going to be okay; for his weathered thoughts to turn back to sun.

He takes comfort in those thoughts, in the little back-pocket-notepad and in the flow of ink— those private stories written between sips of whiskey, each drink closing the door between us further and further.

Now, for the first time, the door is almost shut, and the only things able to slip between the cracks are the ghosts of our stories.