Personal Growth

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic

When it comes time for Michael to move from his home town, he reflects on his memories of her.

“How do you just forget and move on?” I asked Dr Richmond as he gnawed on his glasses frame. 

“You see, Michael when something bad happens, we automatically blame ourselves. You need to change your way of thinking. You have a tremendous opportunity beginning in the next 2 weeks. You need to focus on that. What happened between you two was not your fault. Everybody goes through rough patches and sometimes, being alone seems like the best thing for that person” he said, looking into my eyes as though he was trying to look deeper into my soul. 

I thought about everything that he said on the car ride home. Every word that came out of his mouth, I felt, if that makes sense. I wish I could just talk to you. I wish I could just get that closure. I feel like I should let you go the only way I can. I tried my best, I really did, but I’m starting to think that maybe I should just let this be.

I liked to think that what I had with her was something that would last forever. My friends would always say to me, “Bro, you’re like 17 and you really think this is the one?” and “What’s going to happen when you finish school? When you leave next year to go and study?”

I never paid much attention to what they would say. I used to think they were jealous because what she and I had was special. It was almost like a weird familiarity when we met, like we had known each other forever. 

I had recently applied to a university that was a couple thousand kilometres away and after getting accepted to study there, the problems began to arise. But I don’t want to dwell on the bad, I want to tell you about an important lesson I learned whilst going through this change. 

 “Michael, get out of the car” says my mom as the slamming of her door brings me back to reality. “Help me with the groceries in the back” she says. I can tell that she’s frustrated with me, you’d think that after a year and countless sessions with Dr Richmond that I’d be better now, but there’s something I just can’t get rid of. It’s such a strange feeling. Like a sort of hollowness. Have you ever seen a movie or read a book that is so captivating and so heartbreaking that you feel kind of empty when it is finished? That’s how I feel now. 

Every. 

Single.

Day.

“Michael, you’ve got your last session with Dr Richmond at 10am tomorrow, can you get there yourself? I’ve gotta be at work early” says my mom as she dishes me up what looks like a messy combination of pasta and mince. “Also, we need to start packing up your things, you leave in a week and your room is still a mess”. I roll my eyes at her last comment, ignoring it completely. “Yeah I’ll be there” I say melancholically as I use my fork to shovel the sloppy mess around my plate. “Are you going to try see her before you go?” asks my mom. 

“Mom, no, I can’t. It will just re-open old wounds and I’m not ready for that”. I leave the table and scrape my barely eaten dinner into the trash. I get to my room and close the door. The time on my computer screen reads 22:02. I really should sleep. I really should try. 

I dreamt of you. It felt so real. Your small room, your blue eyes, the feel of you, the light in the window, your music, your books, our bodies spilled together, the tiny flowing currents, your smile and the warmth of you who made me laugh again. 

“Michael, wake-up” shouts my mom as she rips open my curtains. The sun is blinding and the rays shining through the window onto my bed force me to get out from under the covers. “Don’t forget, Dr Richmond at 10am, there’s some boxes in the garage if you want to start packing some things to take with you, have a good day, love you”. She kisses my forehead and rushes out of my room. I check my phone, its 8:45am. 

I stand in the shower as the hot water burns my skin. I like the feeling; it reminds me that I’m alive. 

“Now, Michael, last week we discussed how you could alter your thought processes and focus on the future, have you tried doing that?” asks Dr Richmond, with his pen ready to take down anything important that comes out of my mouth.

”Well, I tried to write about how I’ve been feeling about leaving and that’s helped me” I say reluctantly, hoping he won’t ask me to read him something I’d typed in my notes on my phone. Of course, that’s exactly what he does. 

“Ah yes, writing helps many people deal with their depression and anxiety. Many of my colleagues often recommend journaling because it can help improve your mood and manage symptoms. Would you care to share something?” he asks, closing his notepad as if to say ‘whatever you say stays between us’. 

“Yeah, I guess I could” I say, as I unlock my phone and go to an entry I had written a few days before. 

January 14th,

Here I am, writing to you as if you’re ever going to read this. I wish you were still my person. The person I ran to whenever I felt overwhelmed. You know, I lied when I told you that I had deleted everything that had to do with you off of my phone. Well, I did delete it all off my phone, because I would always go back and look at the photos and the messages and that wouldn’t help me, in fact it just made me feel alone. I saved everything from the messages you sent, to that one picture of us in that old photo booth. I saved everything that reminded me of you and put it all into a flash drive.

I lock my phone and put it back into my pocket, making a conscious effort to not look Dr Richmond in the eye. “How do you feel after writing that?” he asks, gazing out of his window as if keep hide his emotions from me. 

 “Well, I feel like it brings me some sort of closure. I write things that I wouldn’t be able to say to her out loud before I leave and that helps me” I say, shrugging my shoulders. 

“Michael, I want to tell you a story. Seeing that this is our last session together before you go, I thought I’d save this story until now. I had this girlfriend back in school and we parted ways because she didn’t want to be with me while I was on the other side of the country studying. I was a broken man, I barely made it through my final year of high school and I turned to alcohol for some sort of comfort. This cycle repeated itself for about 2 months, until it was my time to move away. Michael, when I decided to leave home, I was afraid, afraid that I would miss my family and afraid that I would miss her. Ironically, both of these things happened, but they weren’t the worst things out of the whole situation. What I should have feared from the beginning was the process of forgetting. I started to forget small things like street names and who lived where. As time passed, my forgetting got more extreme. I wasn’t able to recall the name of my childhood best friend or the word the locals would use to describe a certain type of tree. It seemed as if every single memory which connected me to my former life had faded away. But at the same time, the free space was filled with new experiences and new memories that I had made here. Moving away means you leave something behind and welcome something new. I know it can be difficult in the beginning, but it is inevitable for your personal growth.”

His words hang in the air as I try to soak them all in. The rest of the session is a blur to me. I just remember his words staying in my mind for the whole week. Right up until the day of my departure had arrived. 

After saying an emotional goodbye to my mom, I put my overloaded car into first gear and pull away. I am nervous, hesitant and after driving for hours, I feel as though I had made a mistake by leaving. But Dr Richmond’s words repeat over and over again in my head, they comfort me, and I drive on, ready to allow myself to make new memories. 

I wonder if one day I’ll forget what colour her eyes are. Because my mom doesn’t remember who her first boss was and Dr Richmond doesn’t remember the name of his best friend growing up. I’ve come to learn that we forget things that were one day so obvious to us, so important. Things that once meant the world to us become distant memories, and then eventually forgotten. So, the good news is one day I might not remember the exact moment that broke my heart, but the bad news is I also won’t remember how blue her eyes are. 


Submitted: January 11, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Ross Scott . All rights reserved.

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