If you were a song, you’d be Waiting on the World to Change by John Mayer.

Just like how the “1… 2… 1-2-3-4” at the beginning of the song gives the false illusion that the track was a live band recording, you gave the false illusion that you cared. Cared about me, cared about you, cared about us. Your dreams of being something greater were just that, dreams. Ideas, visions, and fantasies that never left your sleeping subconscious but instead left you feeling without. And so you waited. And you’re still waiting. Not just waiting on the world to change, but waiting for that someone who will inspire you to change. That someone wasn’t me. You’re a catchy pop hit that I can listen to on a long drive with the windows down, but that I never want to be face to face with again.

If you were a song, you’d be That Song by Big Wreck.

You’re a song about a song. You had all these ideas about what the perfect couple looked like. You spent countless hours focused on your social media presence but never enough focused on you. You posted photos of others and claimed they were you. You couldn’t be the best so you wrote a song about the best. That song. I loved that song. That is until I heard the original and realized that everything you had written was plagiarized. In the famous words of Tyler Durden, “a copy of a copy of a copy.” Which would be completely fine if you ever gave credit to those who came before you. But your ego wouldn’t allow it. You’re a rock anthem that I can listen to on repeat because it reminds me of a time when my life was a fucked up rollercoaster.

If you were a song, you’d be Uninvited by Alanis Morissette.

The opening piano sends shivers down my spine just like the first time our eyes met. It’s eerie and confusing and gives me a moment of pause. If it was at any earlier time in my life, I would have run away screaming but you were different. You made the idea okay. Is it exciting to watch the stoic squirm? Because you had me questioning aspects of myself that I thought I had all the answers to. The only unfortunate slight is that you had a girlfriend. You’re a strings heavy ballad that I’m excited to hear when it pops up on shuffle.

I look at your face when I pee.

I don’t know what the measure of success is but I thought maybe you’d want to learn that information.

I figured you’d want to know that at this one place that I go to about three times a year, there is a poster with you on it and it always makes me introspective.

I think about that time you came to my 17th birthday party and were puking in the bathroom before it even started. I didn’t know you. I still don’t. If you puking was the measure of success, my party was average. You were known for puking.

Your boyfriend is on the poster too. Is it weird that I recognize his face more than yours? I think that says something about how I relate to men and women. It should probably make me sad. But it really just makes me wonder if I’ll ever find someone I want to be with for as long as you’ve been with him. And not in a jealous, longing way. But more in a “is that something I’m capable of” kind of way. Because like, forever is a long time. And even though “forever” gets smaller and smaller as I get older, it still feels just as big as it did when I was 7 years old professing to Angela that we’d be best friends forever. That turned out to be untrue. And I have a feeling any forever I was able to muster at this point would have the same fate. Side note: Angela, if you’re reading this, you were my best friend for a time and that time was cool.

Cool like the toilet seat that holds up my cheeks as I remember some girl that went to my High School. We’re bonded in a weird way. Bonded in a way unbeknownst to you. By toilets. Your face in my toilet at seventeen, my bum on a toilet at thirty-one while I stare at your face. Full porcelain circle.

Rifling through my “memories & keepsakes” box the other day, I came across a collection of photobooth strips. While many were of me and my ride-or-die best friend, there were an equal measure of me with ex-boyfriends. I looked at one specific set of 4 black and white 2.5 x 1.5 inch squares showing me and one of my exes seemingly in love and all I could think was, “ugh, I look so cute.” Is that weird? Most people would be reminded of that failed relationship and think any number of damaging things like, “you cheating fuckin’ asshole” or “how could I have been so clueless” or even worse, “I miss you.” But, nope. Not me. I feel nothing. Except vanity of course. Seriously though, so cute!

And it’s for that very reason that I never throw photos like these away. In a perfect world, I would be in that photobooth alone and when it got to the fourth photo where we are oh-so-adorably smooching, he’d be replaced by some fierce individual like Idris Elba or Cara Delevingne. Babe. And then the photos would cease to be of me and my ex, but me and my future. DREAM BIG PEOPLE.

In a world with 7.6 billion people, the odds are that I am not alone in this form of photographic memory hoarding. And it goes deeper than just photobooths. Three laptops, each spanning about 4 years of my life from the age of 19, that wreak of exes. Kisses, dinners, holidays, trips. Disposable cameras developed to include a CD copy so those kisses could be immortal. Did I really think we’d be together forever? My pride doesn’t want to let me say yes because it means admitting that I was stupid enough to make the same mistake over and over. But, it’s the truth. And whether it’s considered “healthy” or not, it’s something I will probably never stop doing. My only hope is that the next person is actually the real deal.

DISCLAIMER: If we have ever been in a photobooth together, YES I still have the photos, NO you cannot have them back, NO I will not throw them out, and YES it’s possible that I’ll post them with you replaced by someone more deserving of my time.