To My Dead Stranger

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     “Last night I danced with a stranger, but she just reminded me you were the one.”
                                                         -Bob Dylan


I thought Friday nights would be different. I’m not going to lie, I really did. When all trace of my silence is erased and maddened with the loudest of music and the dim, oh so brutally dim lights fade out all the memories of us. When the night gets overwhelmed with our stolen dances and the captured, illicit moments take us away. Far, far away!
And those drinks, I thought they’d make me forget. Pulling the shots seemed like the safest option for me. The highness of it all. The thrill of stealing from our own dealer. And oh, the dim lights taking me away.

I thought new faces were what I needed. Maybe the strangers could have taken me away. To their paradise. To somewhere I couldn't find you. Somewhere without you. Or maybe, I could have stolen their paradise. I could have. They stole my glass of whiskey, didn't they?

The faintness of reality did change things, though. For a while, I did feel like I was away. Like you weren't there. Like I wasn't holding on. Like we never happened.

But we did. And we were good. We were really good together. And if things hadn't ended the way they did, I’m pretty sure that we would have made it. And we could have gone far and wide. We could have done great things together. We could have changed this world. We could have. We always did plan to, didn't we?

But, we couldn't.

The bartender told me I shouldn't talk about it. That opening up will make getting hurt easier. That being in pain makes me weak and shouting out about my pain makes me weaker. That walking away is all I could do. It’s the only option.
And he said I couldn't be weak. That my softening up is me failing. And that I was nothing but a pathetic loss if I didn't stop feeling.

He asked me to drown my sorrows, you know? He said that he had something. At the back of the bar. That could take away my pain, snatch away my misery. That could make things easier. That could make letting go easier.
He said that I could have a look at it and then decide. He lured me in, he said that he could help me. He said that he would help me.

All I had to do was follow him to the back of the bar. Take what he was giving me. And, let go.

All I had to do was let go.

It seemed too tempting an offer to pass. And I almost gave in. I almost did.

But. I couldn't.

I did feel like it was my only shot at being strong though. My only shot at forgetting you. My only shot at letting go.

But I didn't take it.

I know you wouldn't have wanted me to.
You cared. You always did. Until the very end. And maybe that’s what makes it hurt the most. That’s what makes me weak.

And I don’t think I can let you go. Not yet, at least.
Maybe trailing the bartender could have helped me do just that. But then I’d have to lose you. And then I’d have to lose myself too. And I don’t think I’m ready to do that just yet.

I met this girl last night, you know? She was beautiful. One of the most beautiful strangers I have ever seen. But she was no you.
I did dance with her, though. How could I not? You were the one who taught me that you don’t turn down dances with beautiful strangers. That’s how we met, didn't we?

New Year’s Eve 2002. That was an amazing night. The most memorable one I've ever had. And I remember every second of it. If it were up to me, I’d relive it every day for the rest of my life.

You looked stunning that night. Well, you always did. And I still remember you climbing down the stairs clumsily wearing that gorgeous white dress and those black pencil heels. And I remember you falling down, headfirst, onto the last step and laughing your stomach off. Literally. Well, almost. You sat there for five minutes, just laughing. And I couldn't help but stare while you made desperate attempts to stand up, fall down again and laugh it all off. I did ask if you needed my help though, but the hedonist in you insisted that we both sat and laughed at your clumsiness for fifteen whole minutes, and then when you finally did stand up, you took my hand and sped us up towards the almost empty dance floor.





I still remember our first dance. Why wouldn't I? You laughed more than you danced, and that was the moment I knew that I wouldn't be able to come out of this one easy. That was the moment I knew I’d soon be head over heels in love.

That girl, the one from last night, didn't laugh at all. She drank, and cried, and then asked me if I wanted to go to her apartment. And even amid all the chaos, I couldn't help but notice how sad she looked, how drained out her heart felt, how unreal her happiness seemed. She seemed desperate, almost helpless. And as much as I wanted to ignore her misery, say yes to her and let go off you once and for all, I couldn't. I just couldn't.

That’s the effect you have on me, you know? Even in a bar full of strangers, loud music, paralyzing drugs and soothing alcohol, all I can think about is you.
But, then again, you've always been my favourite stranger, haven’t you?

Tonight completes ten years. Ten whole years since you left. .
And even though I can never be the same again and even though I can never completely let go, I have come to deal with it.
Maybe I’m not strong enough to let go. Maybe I never will be.
But that’s okay.

I know that I love you, and I always will. Till the end of my time. And even beyond. 
But that doesn't mean I will give up easy.
I have come a long way since you left and even though sometimes I feel the worst pain that even the strongest of drugs cannot dull, I know I signed up for it as well when I fell for you.
You are my stranger, and you always will be. The most beautiful one I ever set my eyes on. And if someday, our fates align and our stars grin together, I will happen to stumble upon you, ask for your hand and dance the entire night away!
Till then and beyond,
Love,
Emm,

Your favourite stranger.