8/30/2018
Palanca letter

To be honest, I was not going to dignify your presence with an essay.

I mean, technically, you did not do anything to me. And perhaps that was the problem: you did not care at all. Not that I wanted you to care. Not that I wanted you to like me. I don't think we'd ever be good friends anyway. I just wanted you to not hate me - and hate me you did.

Well, okay, you can argue that it's all in my mind, that I'm just being paranoid. But that's saying I'm just imagining you dismissing anything and everything I say by changing the topic, or by turning to the others and starting another conversation, preferably with an inside joke, which will be followed by laughter.

Or, you can also argue that you're the one who's not doing anything, that I'm the one who actually hates you. But then, I'm beneath you, right? I'm just this little shit you don't want anything to do with.

It's been eight years since I last saw you, and while the circumstances surrounding that weren't the best ones, I took it as a sigh of relief. I don't have to see your ugly, smug, dismissive face again. I don't have to be reminded that someone out there thinks lowly of me, that someone out there I have to deal with on a daily basis thinks lowly of me.

Not that I have not seen that before. I was bullied in high school: everybody - and I mean everybody - ganged up on me, and they ganged up on my friends until they flipped and ganged up on me, too. I know not everybody looks favorably on everybody else. But I had spent time recovering the belief that there are people who think you're, well, not necessarily the greatest, but at least good for something, and worthy of their time. And then you came along, and with your silence and your superiority you ganged up on me, and you get everybody else to gang up on me, even the one I thought I loved.

Eight years, frankly, was enough for me to forget about you. I've been to better places, and to worse places as well. I had heartbreaks, but because I thought she thought highly of me, too. I recovered from those heartbreaks. I'm not totally happy, but in some places I am, and in some places, well, I could do better.

I am stressed out. I am doing the work of four people and am paid for less than one, according to certain metrics at least. But, in a perverse way, that wouldn't happen if people did not put a lot of their trust in me, if people did not see what little worth I have to offer, if people looked the other way and left me here. In a perverse way, this is better.

But then you had to come back.

But again, technically, you didn't. We've never crossed paths, and there's no reason for us to. But then people start talking about you. People around me start talking about you. People around me start talking about what you think, agreeing with what you think. Loudly. In my presence. I recall how lowly you think of me. I realize how much successful you've become. In certain circles, at least, you have awards to your name, you get shelves devoted to you. You're in the bookstores I frequent, the circles of people I spend time with, the opinions of people I hold dear, to some extent.

You had to come back, and I am that guy you scoffed at in the very first instance, that guy you did not want anything to do with, that guy you did not find worthy of your time, or even just a token hello. You'll laugh at me for listening to K-pop, even for going to one of their concerts. You'll laugh at my pathetic political opinions. You'll laugh at these words. You have awards to your name. You're better. You have proof.

I know this world is not perfect - it's why I considered quitting it at some point. Bad things return the way good things don't. So, you're here to torment me again, with your big words and your pimply face and your preference for GIFs of tennis players eating bananas. I wish you didn't, but more pressingly, I wish I didn't have to feel this way. And yes, I know I can block you, the way I have pretty much blocked all the other bitches in the back row, but things do not work that way.

And your responses...

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