Dear Anthony, or Can I relive lost times?

Dear Anthony,

Every so often, I begin to wonder what's there to live for anymore. There'll never be any new Michael Jackson songs, Jackie Chan will never make a new movie, and the OG online forums no longer exist. You get the point; life is getting bland, and we get our daily high from the random reports of technological progress. Some days you make a random order off Amazon just so you have something to look forward to, and on top of that, I'm now at the age where I need to know what's happening between Ukraine and Russia because the topic might come up randomly in a conversation.

I'm writing this letter on my porch as I watch a neighbor clear out and clean his garage. Although I could be wrong, he's probably preparing for a party in said garage. It reminds me of the days I lived alone and the ritual-like cleaning and cooking I would perform in preparation for a guest I was hosting. It's been a long time since I looked forward to seeing or hosting a friend. Speaking of friends, I find that all my friends are busy these days, and sometimes I try to understand it in context. Yes, we're indeed growing old and now have responsibilities. In addition, they're all burdened by the demanding reality of a capitalist world, but I've realized that I'm the one who is mostly never too busy. Why is everyone else that way? Am I not working hard enough? Or do the time management skills of everyone else just suck?

The other day, I saw a girl who resembled Keirsey Clemons. "Oh, my God! She's so pretty!" I thought to myself. That's how it is in Columbus’ America; every day you see someone who looks like something out of a fairytale, almost unreal. This got me thinking about myself—if anyone has ever thought of me as handsome, and if a stranger has ever admired me to the point that I'm the subject of their thoughts from the moment they see me until they switch context? I do not mean this in a narcissistic or "I want someone to be obsessed with me" type of way, but sometimes I simply wonder if someone sees me and feels something.

I have never considered myself jealous, but maybe something inside me broke recently. I see a family having dinner inside a nice restaurant or a couple holding hands as they move along the sidewalk, and I start to wish that was me. Most days, it's as if everyone but myself has someone or is connected to something. I feel as though I'm a stray cat, and the only bits of love I get are the ones random strangers give me on occasion. I still remember the cashier at a fast food place calling me "Darling" some weeks ago and how I clinched on to that performative validation with the tightness of a baby's fist.

Lately, when I talk to other people, they tell me all the wild and fun things they did in college. All the parties, trips, and other young adult stuff that go along with college days. When I try to recollect my experiences in an attempt to share my story, all I remember are the painful, hungry days and all the nights I spent in the Chemistry department's library. Never drank, never smoked, never fucked. These days, I trick myself into going out with the excuse of "making up for lost time." I go to clubs and bars, hoping to recreate the feeling of "fun" that would mirror what a young college student feels when they do these things, but time and time again, I feel nothing but disgust for myself. "You're wasting your time," I echo to myself.

I find myself reflecting on the past a lot—boarding school days, university days, and the days after graduation. I'm always telling stories and looking at pictures from those times. People say that if you're constantly filled with nostalgia, it's an indication that you're not making much progress in your life. It's not so much that there isn't progress in my life, but the recent times are not worth looking back on. Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever recreate the night in 2015 when Raymond and I danced all night in a dark room to One Direction songs.

Most people think of me as a snob, someone who is not friendly or social, but I am none of these things. I simply have not learned how to enjoy interactions lacking context or depth. I leave most people on the acquittal level because they don't have what I want. The ability to sit down without distractions while we talk to ourselves—I want to exchange stories with another person and have conversations that leave me thinking for days. These days, people are scared of sharing or hearing “Too much information,“ but how else can I know a person without all the details? Perhaps what I truly miss is the experience of being in the presence of people who know the depths of my soul and can skillfully fill it to the brim.

With all my heart,

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