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If this is the only thing I am good at I will keep mining the words. I will hack at them with what mental strength I have that my arms do not share.

Everywhere is ugly. The ocean turns ugly, the palm trees turn ugly, the most beautiful old cathedral turns into yet another building you have to walk around to get to where you want to go.

Picture the male university professor. I have him stuck in my mind. He is tall, bearded always, shabby but neat, well spoken. He leans against the front table in the room, always, he sits there listening, nodding, looking for more people to tell him what they think morality is and is it real or did we just make it up and is there a god and what do you think about what this German philosopher had to say 500 years ago please give me 12,000 words double-spaced by Friday at midnight to my email.

I miss him, this authority figure who had all the answers and so many more questions. Your brain would never travel that far down a path otherwise.

I was 17 when he announced to the class full of college freshman, “There are two very strong writers in this room.” I don’t particularly know why he needed to say it — doesn’t that make the other 50 people feel bad? — and of course he went on to point us out — doesn’t that make us feel bad? — me and another girl, both of us quiet little mental philosophers who enjoyed listening and reading more than anything else.

Something Sylvia Plath wrote in her journal made me stop and think, I am listening to her, reading is listening. Writing is speaking. Hello, hello.

I want to write a book. I want to make a movie. I want to learn guitar and make music. These things are beautiful to me, like old cathedrals.

He tells me I don’t need to be so hard on myself. (Trust me, I’m not.) But what if that effort, that little mental push, is what draws the line between the successful author and the professor?

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“I don’t need you anymore,” he says, pushing another pretty face in front of him. “I have her.” I’m replaceable. He doesn’t need me.

“Söpö poika,” I say, and the ocean is beautiful on my birthday, and I am lost beside it.

Was it always about filling a silence? A role he couldn’t keep himself? Not a friendship but a voice to speak to.

It is a beautiful language. One day I will learn, one day. And I put it off and off and off, forever.

We seek to understand each other. It’s good to make this a life’s ambition as it would take more than a lifetime.

He didn’t know what he wanted. And now he wants nothing. He can hide from it if she speaks loud enough.

It has been a year and it has been three years and it has been three months. Can you miss someone who doesn’t miss you?

There is no going back after an ending. There is no life in it. There is no point to try. Let him find another face. The epilogue is not a good story. I know, I have tried to live it.

I don’t know if this is a good way to think, or simply a truthful way, or just my truth. You can’t save anyone. You can’t save yourself. All you can do is try to stay a beautiful person, and live your short life beautifully.

Hyvää yötä.

I don’t want it to be over. But it might be. I didn’t want it to be over before, but I thought it should be, so I let it end. But leaving early to avoid awkward silences doesn’t leave you, in the end, with anything more than what you’d have otherwise. I should’ve stayed. I should’ve asked questions. I should have been less afraid of awkward silences, because silence was all I was left with in the end.

I learned my lesson, though. I didn’t want that to happen again. I wouldn’t let it happen again. Sometimes you think you know what’ll happen in a given situation, but you never know. It’ll never be like that, like the way you saw it happen in your head. I know that now, although sometimes I forget. But I didn’t let it happen again, not really. It ended, but I refused that ending; I ended it again, and then again, like re-doing takes on a film set.

The first time, I walked out to my car and didn’t say goodbye. I got in my car, closed the door, and stopped. It could’ve ended there. I didn’t let it.

I went back, said goodbye. Then I went to leave again, I walked half-way to my car, but then I turned around and walked right back because I wasn’t happy with that take, either. It wasn’t going to end like that.

I walked back again, said hello, and refused the previous ending. I fixed it, I made it better. Everything has to end, but you can guide the ending. You don’t have to accept everything that happens to you without doing something about it. And while you can’t stop endings, you can make them be ok. You can make the silence that you’re left with in the end be ok.