I haven't seen you in over ten years now. And I don't think about you very often at all, anymore. But when we first broke up, I used to see you everywhere. All black cars were yours, following me.
It was completely in my mind, of course.
At least I think so...
See, you have this incredible talent: the ability to distort the truth, to rewrite history. You're so good at this, that you had me fooled time after time after time. I grew to doubt my own perceptions.
That time that I went to work wearing a turtle neck to hide the fingerprint-bruises on my neck? That never happened. Why? Because you said so.
The times you cheated on me, or lied to me, or just made me doubt my self-worth were gifts from you to me, the anguished poetry I produced could never have seen the light of day without a little drama for inspiration.
Without you, I was nothing. You made me everything that I had become. Because of you, I got rid of my nerdy glasses. You encouraged a different hair style, and picked out more attractive clothes. You challenged my mind and made me stretch myself. You made me better, you made me whole.
Without you, I was nothing.
At least, that's what you said. And you were so convincing, so bloody good at what you do, that I believed it.
I never knew this until after the fact, but through all the years that we were together, my parents referred to you as The Asshole, behind my back. How was it that they, who saw you infrequently, found it so easy to see through your glamour, while I - who lived with you day in and day out - was ensnared by it for so long?
Well, you were right about one thing. You did help shape the person that I became. Like it or not, each step we take on the path to here is a part of the work-in-progress that we are. So, thanks - I guess.
No, I don't think about you very often at all, anymore. But I do always remember you on your birthday.
So - Happy 39th birthday, Asshole.