subject line: october 23rd February 24, 2018 by Hannah Brencher the city we both live in, but separately You know, I used to be in love with this day. October 23rd. The day I got to celebrate you even more than I usually did. A day I pretended was my own birthday when I signed up for gmail and took internet quizzes, just so I could have a piece of you with me. In retrospect, it’s weird - but at the time, I was only thinking of meshing my identity with yours, somehow. In any way I could.I spent too much time tethering my identity to you. I listened to your music, I parroted your opinions, I styled my hair how you mentioned you liked it. I only ate your favorite kind of candy and I buried myself until nobody saw me and only saw the girl that was in love with you. That was who I was, for a long time - the girl who loved you so much that you could do anything and she’d come back like a kicked puppy. That’s how people saw me and that’s how I saw myself. The measure of myself was whether you smiled at me in the morning or brushed me off for something you liked better that day.When you left, I didn’t know who I was. I wasn’t anything without you, and I desperately tried to hold on to you so I could hold on to myself. Without you to laugh at my jokes, I wasn’t funny. Without you to tell me my dress looked nice, I wasn’t pretty. Without you to ramble to at 3 am, I wasn’t worth listening to. I had tied my heart and myself to you and without you, I was floating loose, like an abandoned balloon against the vast sky above. I’d lost the hand that held me.It’s taken me three years to untangle myself from you and start seeing me again. I’m still finding bits of you where I should be - my vacuum cord always gets wrapped the way you did it, and my google calendar still thinks today is my birthday. But I know who I am without you. I listen to my music and speak my own mind and cut my hair the way I want it. I eat lots of chocolate even though you hate it. I laugh at my own jokes and see real beauty in who I am and try to make every word count. I am someone without you.I’m still in love with this day, just for a different reason. October 23rd. The day I get to celebrate me even more than I celebrated you.