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 How do you begin writing A Story of You half-way through the changing process?

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Regret

The last day of the year arrives. On its cabin, it carries two packages: a stack of unwritten envelopes and an empty suitcase. I tear the seals, place 2019 postmarks, and write my resolutions. I’ll scatter the envelopes later, when the train penetrates the incoming wind at speeds 20 km an hour.

20.

I look at the suitcase. It’s still here, after all these last days of the year. I’m afraid to hold it. Its weight scares me. Because “Regret” is written across its name tag. There’s no other name, but that.

Regret. How proper when we think of the ending of the year. How empty sit the “could have been,” “should have been,” “might have done that.” I peer out the window to see the border between 7,388 and 7,389. I have lived seven thousand days. I have not found love in seven thousand days.

2018 was the year I confused heartache for heartbreak. Because I thought I had loved, only to realize love can only emerge when it flows both ways. A heart that hasn’t loved cannot break. A heart that wants love, aches.

“Wait” by Tanner Swift came up on my Spotify playlist. (Perfect place for a footnote: if you can’t appreciate the beauty of Spotify’s Discover Weekly algorithm, imagine I just said the more poetic expression “came up on the radio.”)

The song reminded me that it’s okay if 2018 was not my year. Someday “some lover will show [me] how beautiful being loved can be” and I should “stop looking for someone to complete [me],” when I can “wait for the one that makes [me] feel complete.”

The train trembles. The suitcase falls. Nothing rattles inside. I grimace. The suitcase reminds me it’s empty.

20.

What if I search for someone? What if I want to love?

On the last day of 2017, I constructed an illusion. I would find a guy whom I’d lay next to in complete silence and be. A guy I could trust and who would trust in me. A guy whose mind tied his universe and mine. A guy to share an enlarged reality of vulnerability.

But the illusion was recycled. Because 2017 was also the year I was going to find love. As was 2016. And 2015. And 2014. And 2013. 2012. 2011. 2010. 2009. 2008. Every year since thinking I found The One at summer camp. I was nine.

20.

I don’t try. I tell myself I want to look, but I am uncomfortable going on dates with other men. I am worn out of yet another unhygienic round of sex. I am unwilling to give most guys a second chance.

I tell myself I want to look, but I hide. Rephrase: I hide telling myself I want to look.

Using the suitcase for support, I press the ink against a blank envelope and write,

Love is baggage. It’s heavy, but you’d feel naked without it.

Let my future self decide what to do with that.

Pablo Guarneros