by Thought Catalog
I hope that you’ll keep me. That I don’t just become a pleasant afterthought. One that comes up casually, when you notice how long it’s been since we last spoke. When someone asks how I am and you just don’t know. After a month, or two, or four… you may remember to follow up with me, you may not. Maybe I won’t notice if you don’t.
You made me vulnerable. I let you in. And now you scare me.
Maybe it won’t ache when you cross my mind and I’m alone. Maybe you’ll slip from my periphery. We’ll catch up, first now and then, and then not at all.
But so far you’ve selflessly cheered me on and you’ll never know what that means to me. How I’ve needed that. Now let me keep you in my life, actively. I don’t want a conduit to happy memories. I want to build you into this new life I create.
Someone told me recently that the most important things don’t always find their echo immediately.
You found me a bright but broken wanderlust, unsettled and alive and anxious. You accepted all of me. You inflated my heart after I’d let it flizzle flat for years. You gave me stability when I was hopelessly shaken.
You are different. You just are. You changed me and you weren’t supposed to. That wasn’t part of the plan. But you happened and now you’re a part of me.
I know I’m the one that left.
But I hope that you’ll stay.
Everyone’s granted a wish on Jeongwol Daeboreum, a festival in South Korea that celebrates the first full moon of the New Year. Armed with sub-par language skills, a slowly growing acclimation to red pepper paste and a capacity to ignore the constant stares my Western appearance now brings, I followed suit, fixing my rice-paper wish to a tree flourishing with hundreds of others tied together in unison.
I feel so comfortable these days just waiting for the subway, like I’m closer to home. It’s a feeling I don’t need often anymore, but when it descends it’s penetrating. The stares don’t abate, and the train doesn’t make those noises you know I hated. I said once it was like barking, and you just laughed and barked back. But I still listen to the same playlist, and whenever that one song comes on I think of that late, desperately hot summer night…
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