Met up with the girls the other day and I blend in nicely. My voice takes over a more lilting tone, with correct exclamations over trivial anecdotes delivered prettily. I'm drawn to them like a moth to flame every once in a while, to admire their glossy hair, to bask in the childish glory of befriending the Pretty Ones (which I achieved since 10 years ago, but which I haven't seemed to have gotten over), but mostly to just maintain enough presence to not be left out. They like going to Disneyland, they like donating to orphanages, and they like their jobs. It does not seem that we have much in common but that minor glitch never gets in the way of a good gossip or the latest news on where to buy nice bedding.
I like to think that I can just weave myself in and out of this and that group flexibly, but to be honest I spend far too much time obsessing over things that don't make sense. The more they don't make sense, the more that I am drawn to them. In this city, the stories I store are what keeps me going. Mostly the stories don't inspire, they make me angry or sad. In this now tranquil place in my head, anger is most welcome and entertaining, whilst sadness is muted and rendered invisible to others.
Perhaps there are some exceptions to that. Cherry briefly mentioned that her best friend had married disastrous Mr. Nine's best friend, and that she saw him from time to time. I asked how he was, as is the default response in the face of these types of information, but suddenly didn't care to know. I told her that I never feel like deleting anyone from my history, but I would make an exception for him. It isn't anger, or disappointment, or regret, or grudge, it is just a blank apathy - the way I feel about a waste of time. The girls laughed and told me that they have way more than one person they would like to delete from their portfolios.
Mr. Right said something the other day, very recently. He said my exes are interesting. Not that he had delved into an investigative frenzy on each and every one of their characters and personalities. He's just a little creepy like that. He doesn't have permitted access to this blog or any other protected account that I own. He just quietly pieces things together without making a fuss about it. It's either that or he secretly hacks into my accounts. But we had made a pact very early on that evidence obtained by unlawful means is inadmissible, so I'm not too worried.
He said they are interesting, or that my relationship with them is interesting, because none of them can replace each other. I said, "come again?" He said they all filled this space in me, but different spaces. They are each different and unique enough to me to be able to do that, without replacing anyone prior. And each one gains certain privileges that the other doesn't get. Perhaps this is normal, but I suppose it is the first time I've heard it summarized in that manner and it took me a little by surprise. I know I jealously guard the memories like precious jewels, and they are indeed, all separated definitively into differently-hued crystals. I say jealously, because certain moments still leave pangs of sadness that I can't explain very well, sadness that specific times at specific places don't last and cannot actually physically last. I liked the fact that, by making that observation, he is calmly aware that he is not, could not, and should not, replace those.
The thought then occurred to me of whether anybody had ever felt like deleting me from their portfolios. C'est la vie, I suspect so, with a sad refrain that is hedged by the buoyancy of an ever-moving life.