You said, don’t hold on to the past like it’s something I can just switch off easily (and perhaps, a year ago, I would have said: yes, you’re right, I’m sorry). There’s no moving on if you constantly go back to what had happened. But your words have left pockets of memories, buried into my nervous system. My heart still races wildly at times when I’m caught off-guard by flashes of sorry I didn’t mean it that way – I wasn’t trying to – I don’t know what else to do to show you – , of reminders of misunderstandings, of curling up, trying to keep my chest from exploding and my mind from caving in (nowhere is safe).

You said it as if I’m deliberately holding onto these moments, wielding them against you in battle (or am I merely projecting these thoughts upon you?, you are, after all, a different person now – but I’m trying to stop constantly second-guessing my thoughts, qualifying my statements). As if I want to feel panicky and jittery, when adrenaline surges in my veins for no reason other than because I’ve glimpsed something which surfaces a memory. As if I want to feel constantly on the edge, ready to flee from nothing more than the firing of neurons. As if I want to literally feel nauseous when confronted with fictional depictions of fictional people locked in fictional arguments, thinking you’re such a joke for reacting this way.

We said this was the only way to stay friends, before things escalated to beyond repair. I apologised – said I was selfish for wanting to end things, that I was doing so just because I wanted to protect myself. I just – I don’t think this is very healthy for me. Like I failed you, somehow, by giving up like that. Maybe we just needed a month more – a year, just a little more time to work past everything.

You said before, you’re a friend of my mind. But I didn’t have the courage to extend the same courtesy to myself. Feeling this way is silly, it’s been more than half a year and you’re still on old thoughts, I say to myself. Just let it go already. And I am – trying to purge the bad and leave the good, to find a balance somewhere in the maelstrom of moments and leave behind only what is golden.

I say, you’re not a bad person, that’s just a side of you that’s perhaps slightly rougher, you just didn’t realise how deeply you’ve left your mark  – running reasons and excuses, just like many months before. I say, forgive and forget like a good, kind person would. It’s easy enough to do so, after all, merely a simple exercise in mental dexterity. As easy as breathing in and breathing out – expelling these bad (I’m being unfair to you for holding onto these moments – the present you who’s undoubtedly changed and hopefully has grown) thoughts and memories (they’re in the past, they’re over now, we turn the other cheek).

I once heard, the opposite of love is apathy. It’s easy, I think, to block out the bad. It’s not the first time you’ve done so, you’re only stronger now after this.

But the inexplicable surges of anxious energy that have peppered the past few months testify otherwise. And in these moments, you were weak then and you’re still weak now telegraphs itself in my mind – emotions are inescapable no matter how far you run.

But no – I say, I refuse. I refuse to let you have any more power over me. I refuse to give you space into my head. I’m standing my ground, this time, no matter how hard it may be.

I exorcise you.