Aloof by Karen Hogan //

Seasons by Heather Graham //

Text message. 

I wish we were still friends. -E

Eric. I stare at the screen of my phone for a moment, trying to catch my breath. Before carefully place letters and words together in a calculated response. 

We’re not NOT friends.

I hesitate for a moment then hit send. 

It feels like it. I miss you. -E

A quick reply.  He must have been waiting, hoping that I would respond. A begrudging part of me wished I had waited longer. Made him sweat.  

There is a theory by Sigmund Freud that people subconsciously put themselves into situations that create turmoil in order to meet the desperate need to have that euphoric feeling of everything working out and calming down. It seems so strange, yet also almost cliché to long for the bad just to feel the good. Thorns on roses. Rain clouds and rainbows. Hallmark-card encouragement on motivational posters tacked to stuffy office walls. Though, if my relationship with Eric was any indication, Freud may have been on to something.

For years we fell in and out of love and friendship and hate and resentment. Turmoil that bled into calm and out again. People sometimes compare relationships that are scrapped together with wild ups and downs to roller coasters. For me and Eric we looped round and round more like a merry-go-round with morbid monsters and beasts made of toothpicks and bear traps waltzing with colorful docile farm and circus animals. We circled in predictable yet unexpected weather patterns. Caught in seasonal moments that could never survive the extreme heat of the Summer or Winter’s icy breath, our calm existed in the Springtime birth and Autumn death in between. 

Our good times bloomed in vibrant pinks and greens. Crisp winds and quiet rain water-colored our history in reds and oranges. For us these seasons of our cycle were calm and perfect. Close and kind. 

One birthday in the autumn of our year we sat in my car.

“11:58” He’d announced, glancing at his watch. 

“Two minutes until I’m officially old,” I groaned.

“You were already old.” He gave me a playful grin “now you’ll just be MORE old!”

I must have looked sad. I felt sad. It was one of those birthdays that was supposed to mean something. It was supposed to signify that I was an adult. It was supposed to signal the grown-up-gods to suddenly bestow upon me mortgages, marriage, children and other adult-like things. It was something I was neither ready for nor desiring. I didn’t want to give up this life for some weird definition of adulthood. I liked me like I was. 

“Close your eyes.” He instructed looking at his watch again. “Think. What was the best part about the last ten years? BEST. “


I couldn’t see him but I could tell he was smiling. “Good. Now think about that. Think about those friends and the crazy adventures we’ve all had. Think about concerts and road trips. Diner conversations and late night movie marathons.”

I smiled as memories flooded my senses. It had been an amazing time. 

“Open your eyes,” He had shifted and as I blinked his smiling face was all that I could see in front of me. Green eyes. Genuine grin. “It’s midnight. Happy Birthday.”

Unlike seasons that slid from one into the next gracefully Eric and I shifted in explosive and dramatic bursts of tension and anger. His Summer fire and my Winter ice warped our arguments in fluctuating severity. We erupted in hurtful words and bitter accusations then froze or sweated for days and weeks .

“I feel like I don’t know you!” This was an accusation I was all too familiar with.  “You care more about your bands and your ‘passions’ than you do about me.” He was always so insecure about my love of music and my fanaticism over everything. I wasn’t one of those insane Beatles-maniacs or screaming One Direction fans standing outside of hotels or pounding on car windows professing my love for an artist with tears rolling down my face but it would be an understatement to say I was anything less than absolutely passionate. In my world I often found myself completely uninterested or utterly obsessed with all things. 

“My passions are who I am. If you feel like you don’t know me it’s because you are too busy feeling jealous to pay attention.” 

“You lied to me,” His nostrils flared, fumbling for a new complaint. “You said you were here. Home. But you were probably out on his tour bus. Whoring yourself out to follow his stupid band on tour. You lied when you said you were here just to trick me into thinking that you actually care about me.” Fire. 

“Are you kidding me right now?” My eyes narrowed. Jaw clenched. “I’m not a groupie, a whore, or a liar and I’m disappointed that you could think that. Perhaps you’re right, you don’t know me after all.” Ice. 

Our Winter settled in. Silence. Avoidance. Gradually then all at once bursting back into the in between: calm and collected and closer than we had been before. Turmoil to calm. Season to season.

I miss you – E

Freud’s damned theory begins a new cycle. The rise, building to an eventual crashing fall. 

I miss you, Eric, I wish we were still friends too….. 

The snow begins to melt. The seasons change and it all continues. Forever. Or until something larger than ourselves finds a way to shatter us. Global warming. Climate change. Apathy. Exhaustion.