“I just kissed Nick! Ahh!”
“I NEED TO FREEZE MY EGGS.”
“You are not going to believe who we are hanging out with!”
“I miss you.”
Those are just a sampling of the texts I received in December thus far that I couldn’t textually reply to. What happened with Nick? Why the urgent egg-freezing? Who were they hanging out with? And… you? You miss me? These were secrets. These were hushed words sent under the table by memorized hand motions. They were living, chaotic occurrences and, in the moment, my friends wanted to share them with me. With all the excitement, the drama, texting was a way to include the people they wanted to share it with the most.
Texts are secrets. They’re little mementos of inclusion and excitement you can read over and over. It’s not a terribly new concept. They’re letters, journal entries, notes passed in class. Because we like to hold onto words that mean something to us. We like re-read and remember and re-live that moment when he said, “I miss you,” or even just “Merry Christmas” because you know they mean the same thing. I try to remember your face, the timbre of your voice, the way you shake your head at me, but they come in ripples of water, moving and fading. And all I have for certain, all I can convince myself is still real are the words you wrote to me. Because if I can show someone, if someone else can see them, then they exist as more than another layer in my heart. They exist as proof, as evidence in the court of law that at one point I meant enough to you to stop, think of me, and tell me.
And when I text my best friend, “He texted me! :)” and she replies, “Yay!”, we’re not a generation lost staring at screens. We’re in corsets being handed scrolls sealed with his coat-of-arms. We’re in sundresses waiting for the postman to drop his letter. We’re on swing sets hoping to circle ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ We’re a million starry eyes still staring at the same starry skies with fingers crossed and hopes high.
I miss texting. But I miss it for the right reasons. Because for all the times you use it as a cop-out communication, you also use it as glue. Stories you have to tell that no one can hear. Moments and photos you only share because of the ease. I don’t just think about my friends around the world, I include them. Bits and pieces of I-couldn’t-wait-to-tell-you and What-should-I-do. Efforts to inscribe each other more concretely into the codex of our lives. Hi, hello, how are you, I miss you.
As we settle into the end of the year and are given the space and time to dwell in nostalgia and the gaping holes of old loves and the burning flames of new ones, all we really want to do is connect and feel intensely. I’ll call my friends and my family, but I’ll still be looking at the small screen on the counter to light up with his name, because I don’t care what package that burst of enamored joy comes in – I just want to feel it again.