Someone on the internet will tell you that you seem to suffer from constant guilt, and you will be amazed at how complex you are not. There have been days like this on and off for years now, a repetition of these themes: friends you left behind because your relationship with them hit a wall. You cut them out of your life not because you don’t love them but because they make you uncomfortable, unhappy, uneasy. These things ebb and flow, someone says to you. Everything is a circle. Stuff at the job seems to be flagging also– you’re bored and you don’t know why you try so hard, care so much. At home, you chip away at some monolith of personal mythology and attempt to for once, just tell a story. You talk into the void until you’re tired of the sound of it. You miss the open road so much you cry about it sometimes. You stare at the photos from the last tour, take daytrips to neighboring cities without telling anyone and come back before dinnertime so nobody notices you were gone. No explanation for where the money went, why you were hungover by the middle of the day. You want to tell your muse everything but he’s busy, wiping down a bar or a table somewhere. You’re tired of fighting pointlessly. You undermine great evils under the cover of day. All of your fantasies are memories. You want to leave. You want to leave. You want to leave.

And that moment when the person you have been thinking about for weeks walks into focus, some great weight falls away. It feels like you just put your arms around your whole childhood, around your one true home. There is still freedom somewhere living in the heart of certain embraces. There are nights when everyone’s spouses decide to turn in early without a fuss and you stay up until dawn with your friends and a bottle of something familiar-tasting to share. You tell the goddamn truth for once, to someone who knows just by your face and your voice that you’re being sincere. There are people with whom you share a common history, a common language, a common culture. You can forgive them for venturing from it, for screwing things up, if for no other reason than they forgive you also. These moments of refuge are a lesson in the fleeting nature of everything, because the harder you try to hold on to them, the faster they will fade away from you, and you know this from experience. So you just relax and go home when the time comes. You don’t nag, put up a fight. Know that they would stay here with you forever if they could, if things were still that simple, if they still had no other promises to others. And just when you’re about to tell yourself that it’s unfair, you hear a song from someone else from your past, recorded at a show you should have been at if you hadn’t had to do other things, and it gives you hope:

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