The photo showed two people, one sitting on a chair and the other on the former’s lap. The one on the chair looked at the ground with an awkward smile. The other had their eyes up, arms around the former, and an equally awkward grin. Judging by the surrounding and the light coming in from the door, it was either a belated lunch or an early dinner. Their averted glances showed that both were aware someone was taking their photos.
Life is strange, especially when looking at an old photo of yourself. You gaze upon an image, describing the scene as an impartial observer might, someone devoid of any recollection.
But those are lies. You remember. And that’s the crux of the issue. The memories are ones you’d rather suppress. So you detach yourself from the emotions of the photo and describe it monotonously.
Life has changed since the photo was taken. You have changed. The other person has changed. Friends turned strangers. You start to wonder what happened. Are the changes you both went through to blame? Changes are inevitable, so why was it a problem for you two? Especially when both were witnesses to most of the changes.
When you don’t find an answer, you tell yourself it wasn’t meant to be. You were incompatible. You tell yourself it’s better not to talk than have those one-sided conversations and feelings of resentment.
Small things, however, remind you of the fun times you had with that person. And, once again, you start to wonder if you made the best choice. You know you did, but what if? Then you begin to resent the person for seemingly doing no different from when you were friends.
Why must I be the only one remembering those things? Why must I care? Why doesn’t that person care?
You start convincing yourself that those are signs that the other person was never worthy of your friendship. You are truly better off without them, you think. You nod to yourself while internally moaning like a kid, “Where’s the justice? It’s so unfair.”
It is an endless cycle of loathing someone and loathing oneself.
I have yet to free myself from it.
It’s a shame I can’t even have the satisfaction of burning the picture; it’s trapped in the digital realm, symbolizing an era where memories are vivid and distant.
Perhaps, one day, I’ll scroll through my digital albums and stumble upon that photo again. And instead of bitterness, I’ll feel a pang of nostalgia, a wistful smile for what once was.
The cycle of conflicting emotions continues for now, but healing and understanding hopefully will take their place as time passes.