“I act and react, and suddenly I wonder, ‘Where is the girl that I was last year? Two years ago? What would she think of me now?'”
by Sylvia Plath
“Set Your Compass North”
Fiction. Based on a True Love Letter Unsent.
This journal entry is inspired by true events. Some of the characters, names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes. Any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional.
To whomever it may concern,
We talked while the wind blew so strong my hair was in my eyes. I squinted in the direction I needed to go and you walked next to me.
How is it that every word filled my ear so clearly? Words always need a place to go whether it’s the walls, paper, or another person. They were the fog against the sun, impossible to stare at straight on without them reflecting back at me. What you say can’t hide.
Regret. You always talk about regret whenever we bump into each other. But, I can’t put my finger on the meaning you want. The word burns as Rome did long ago. I can smell the ashes floating on the wind. I think, no I worry, that you look back too much with sad eyes and a dry tongue. It’s not easy to look back at your own life and see one clearly outlined life: no one life, no one lover, no one dream; it takes time to know yourself. And life changes with every second; I thought you knew that your life changes after every word. I do not live the same life I lived a second ago.
Time flows forward. I spent too long looking back; I’m young but heartbreak has no age. If time flowed many ways, in circles, I’d go back and save my suicide man. But I can’t. What’s the point if I can’t go back. The pain will forever be in my blood. A tragedy that will never go away. I feel it in my bones and my teeth.
So what’s the reason you look back in regret? Aren’t you living the life you want now?
Aren’t you happy?
You tell me how it’s amazing that I know myself. I am not sure. Whenever it is too bright I forget who I am. There are those who ask me, “which of you do you love better?” I don’t know what that means or how to answer it. Whenever it’s a bit darker, I know me better than anyone, no matter what they say.
Let me ask again: is it really amazing for me to know who I am if it is only true if there’s little light? The heart break I’ve had to go through so young, does it pay off this way? Even though you’ve had more breathes, more time, I fear you are finally feeling your heart break, whatever it may be. Regret isn’t worth it’s while and I am sure I can find many stories, including my own, that proves me right.
What about me makes me a safe place to spill these secrets to a stranger? You claim you know that I know myself. I do not know how you would know that. If you knew what I tried to do with my fingers, the part of me that makes me me, then you’d amend your statements. But scissors aren’t sharp enough to cut through skin easily. If only you knew the amount of self-loathing that ran through my brain.
What still bothers me is that you compared yourself to me. I can’t begin to explain how that makes me sad. I wish you find the strength to stop looking back, to point your compass north, and love yourself.