subject line: i thought I escaped you. May 20, 2015 by Hannah Brencher boston, massachusetts Today is your birthday. It never even crossed my mind.That is, it never crossed my mind until I was on a bus to New York. I got a notification on Facebook. It was your birthday. No big deal, right? Until I started thinking about how months ago I promised myself we’d take a trip to New York on your birthday. Here I was on a bus to New York with my friend instead, coincidentally on the same day. I thought I was over you. I thought I escaped you, but you keep creeping into my mind.So I texted you happy birthday because I think it’s horribly painful that people who care so much about each other at one point can fade into not caring at all. I texted you happy birthday because I care, though in a different way than before. You didn’t respond. I thought I was over you. I thought that wouldn’t bother me. If people aren’t receptive to your intentions it’s not your fault, I told myself. But you keep creeping into my mind. I thought I escaped you.My friend and I were sitting in Bryant Park. The weather was beautiful. I had not a care in the world; if I had to describe the moment, I would describe it as happy. I was happy. I was lying in the grass. I was at peace. I looked ahead, and directly ahead of me was a building with the name ‘GRACE” in huge letters. I thought I was over you? Why the hell would the universe do that to me, on your birthday? I thought I escaped you, but even the universe knows I haven’t.I didn’t even love you to begin with. I told myself I wouldn’t fall for a girl. I almost cried after the second date because I didn’t want to get any further into what felt like a mess because of myself. Somehow, the flip switched. Somehow, I was crying in the library the day we ended things. I was throwing up that night because I couldn’t sleep knowing I hurt you. I apologized over and over. I’m losing myself over you, even though I deny it. I’m falling in love with your ex. I can’t stop hating myself over you. I swear I didn’t even love you. But every hook up since then has been just that—a hook up. And maybe that’s all you were too. But for some reason, I can’t escape you. I don’t even want to love you anymore. I don’t want us to be us anymore. I just want to care about you, and I want you to understand that I care. I want the closure we never had.But I guess that’s how some things work. Ever since college began, I had been using that perfume called Grace. Every morning, I sprayed on a piece of grace. Stuck with me every day through the night. Hel, it stuck with me on every date. That same perfume. You’ve come and gone, but it’s still there. Pieces of grace. Maybe some things are meant to be, just not in the way I had hoped.I thought I escaped you, but maybe I never will. So here’s to you and here’s to us: Happy birthday to you and to all the universe wanted us to be. Some things just aren’t meant to be, and similarly, some things aren’t meant to escape.