I dread seeing people I used to know.
Those people who are the last few remnants from another life I once lived. A life that still exists on the outskirts of my skin, which I so desperately wish to shed. It itches and blisters, constantly reminding me that who I was is not who I am. But that who I was is the only part that people seem to see.
And when I encounter people I used to know, there is a familiarity to them, but their face is off-kilter and their laugh lines aren't the same. I'm made aware that the closer I come to finding myself, the more others seem to melt away.
It occurs to me that this might be a phenomenon I've invented within me. Through the blending of space, time, isolation and depression. Like the drunk goggles I tried on in primary school; skewing my vision of timeless friendship.
But then there comes the "how have you been?"s and then the "what's new with you?"s. The pleasantries and bullshit that have never once been uttered between real friends. And I smile back and participate in this social dance, forcing an ugly chasm of a smile across my face and suppressing the grimace that exists in my heart.
I dread seeing people I used to know. The ones who were my friends only when I was blanching my scars with vodka and self-defeat. I desperately miss some of them, but mostly, I don't miss them at all. Too many only really knew the very outside of me.
Fortunately, it won't be long until I shed these last few layers and then they'll have never known a single particle of my being.