I was searching through my email inbox today for some old college papers I had hoped were still in there somewhere and ended up falling down a rabbit hole of old correspondence with my best friend. We were romantically involved (long distance) at the time and it’s so strange to read the emails. I haven’t looked at them in a few years, because our breakup was immensely, terribly painful — I just shunted them into a separate folder and have pointedly ignored them for nearly three years. Eventually we reconciled as friends and we’re still very close today, but our friendship is a very different paradigm than it had been.

Reading the messages, everything is so vivid and yet the feelings are all faded, like sepia photographs. It’s like reading a journal, except I’ve never been good at journaling. I can hear and feel the affection, the amusement, the longing in each word. I miss it a lot — we’re still incredibly close, but I miss having such a pure level of emotional intimacy with another person. Of course, that’s why it hurt so badly when things ended too. I don’t want to delete them because it’s an interesting and honest look into who I was at 19/20, and a reminder of who I still am. It feels almost invasive, looking back at those conversations — I think he would probably be embarrassed that I still have them, because he carries a lot of guilt about how things ended between us. I’m not embarrassed or ashamed, but it’s so odd to realize how much I’ve forgotten about the little intimate details of how we spoke and the little affections we shared.

But it still feels weird, guys.