This isn’t right…it doesn’t make sense exactly but it’s what’s on my mind right now even if my mind is still sorting through it.

Gotye hits me in the same place cellos do – somewhere in the heart of me where my soul files heartache and joy for reasons of some perverse pleasure pain principle. Oddly i don’t always listen to lyrics. Odd because i love words. I mean I always hear them but it takes a while for them to sink in. and then all of sudden i have a swift inhalation of breath because someone’s poetry or wit startle me into remembering the full breadth of the art that is music.

Sometimes it is simply the stories shared…carrie underwood pissed off about a cheating man and damn sure he won’t do it again. Or a line;  brooke fraser pleading, “…now that i’ve seen, i am responsible, faith without deeds is dead.” And sometimes it is a sentiment. And in gotye’s somebody that you used to know it is a sentiment long unuttered but instantly understood at the center of me.

But you didn’t have to cut me off
Make out like it never happened and that we were nothing
And I don’t even need your love
But you treat me like a stranger and that feels so rough

When i was younger my relationships ran their course and time and often distance did their part and my exes become faces in photographs. This person who i knew became someone that i used to know with very little effort on my part. I never expected my high school sweetheart would still be prominent in my life even though we’ve remained friendly. Life went on.

But now. Now, so close to 40 i can smell it, and i find myself navigating a life cluttered with people i once knew…really knew. People who knew me. Only they don’t anymore. Or if they do- maybe they shouldn’t.

I think of my past loves…slipped into married obscurity…and despite my indignation that i once knew his laugh or the touch of his hand on the small of my back, the smell of sandalwood, or the perfect crease in every pair of jeans, and now know nothing, i understand the reason for it. A marriage full of everyone’s past could get crowded. Still, to know the taste of someone’s lips and the sound of his voice when he’s sleepy, the look in his eyes when the world is heavy but he doesn’t want to ask for help, those are intimate things. And it doesn’t just evaporate…or maybe it does. Only it doesn’t evaporate clean, it leaves a ring, a stain where the knowledge was, still is, just less visible.

No you didn’t have to stoop so low
Have your friends collect your records and then change your number
I guess that I don’t need that though
Now you’re just somebody that I used to know

I have a collection of photographs from a trip i took with a boyfriend. We laughed and fought a little and generally had a wonderful time. None of those pictures is displayed. Instead they are filed away in my computer where i puruse them when i’ve steeled myself to peer upon the face of somebody that i used to know.

Because the thing is, even though that relationship isn’t severed, it is. How we knew each other-how we were- has been transformed into something new. No judgment for the transition, maybe a lament…but…

Moving back to Oakland, small city that it is, i ran into an ex boyfriend twice in the span of 10 days. There he was, this man i saw every other day for the better part of six months. This man i hadn’t seen for almost four years. And i once knew his laugh and how to assemble the perfect bite, and standing there in the meat aisle i couldn’t even tell you if he was married.

We hugged but we were nothing…but we used to be…

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