I remember every face I meet and the name it owns. This seems like an interesting addition to a résumé and a useful parlor trick to use once the party is over. It should be but not when growing up and making mistakes in a city that fits in between a couple of hills we collectively decided to call mountains. The bodies of the faces saunter and snicker and carry on, passing by like it means something to me. It does. I remember every moment. The emotions they left with me. The secrets they told me. Annoyance makes my pulse radiate heat, just like how pavement feels on a southern day in July. Even though I regularly cut ties without much motive, I still reserve the right to selfishly froth in my own ill wishes. It’s only when they pass and I remain unnoticed am I shaken back into my senses. I realize it’s likely they’ve gone another day without thinking of me. It’s vexing to be overlooked. It festers and grows, turning real individuals into memories and ideas as flat as newspaper. No one has ever ignored me. They’ve just been walking past me, engrossed in their own valid thoughts.
Being raised by a hardened Marine and a devout Catholic had a serious effect on my social skills. Emotions weren’t allowed in my childhood home. Anger was bottled; sadness was hidden away. It’s easy to idealize my personality because of this learned repression. Describing myself is fun with buzz words like easy going, nonchalant, and tolerant. They’re simple and conceal the unfortunate truth. I have absolutely no idea how to interact and connect with another human being. My instinct to maturely express myself is stunted. Empathy is never my first reaction and I still haven’t learned how to apologize. I let people walk all over me. That way I don’t have to engage. All my true feelings are locked up, which leaves my disposition to seem unoccupied and aloof. When prompted to open up, my internal vacancy overcomes any attempt to truly identify with another. One day, I’ll find a way to climb out of the void or I’ll blow.