You were an improvement to every day when I had you, but though you made my life more full, you made me more empty of self-identity and independence. I’m learning now to desire the breath in my lungs and the beat in my heart just because I deserve it, just because I am going places, becoming someone.
There was a time in my life when band-aids had a special significance, like they were metaphors for my being, like my breath was hesitant and unsure enough to be holding back the parts of me that I didn’t want anyone to see.
Today last year, I promised you that I would stay. It turns out that my world wants me more than you ever did.
I leave tomorrow
I wished for you to makeout with me, hard. I don’t love you, and I’ll never love you, but goddamn, I could make you feel loved.
Everyone has those moments in life when they open their eyes from a thoughtless blink and find themselves seeing something that they’ll never forget or feeling something they’ll never feel again. I think being in a scenario that is so out of the ordinary is what living is all about. I think people fall in love in a magnified way when they spend too many of those moments together. I remember climbing a mountain with you and feeling tears in my heart because I wanted the climb to go on forever; I wanted the pain in my legs to perpetuate just so I could hear your voice pull me upwards. I remember driving nowhere specific with you, and noticing the 2:00 AM light up on my phone when we were in the middle of a conversation that meant way more to me than it ever did to you, and thinking that I’d stay up all night for your thoughts spilled into illegible texts. I remember picking the longest movie we could just to feel each other’s bodies for a half an hour longer; I remember hugging you goodbye and the press of your fingers on my ribcage pained me so well. I remember trembling in the pool with my legs wrapped around you; your touch made me feel nothing, but I wanted your hands to be mine. I remember kissing you, shaking and shivering. I remember the similarity between nerves and cold air. I remember you whispering “I love you baby.” I remember believing you. I think that is what ruined us. It was never me liking you more, or you getting bored of me. It was not the lack of passion in my kiss, or the fact that you almost accidentally drowned me. It was not my dress or my overly-makeuped face. It was never the extra cookie I ate or the imperfect that radiated out of my pores. It was not the distance between us. It was the fact that we had so many minutes that I’d never forget. We had so many moments together that took my breath away; I will remember the view from the top of the mountain and the bite of the cold air longer than I will remember you being beside me. I will long for the feeling of your touch more than you. I will long for how you made me feel. I will not long to have you back. I fell in love with the memories we made, and I fell in love with myself in those moments. I loved you, all of you, but I sure didn’t fall in love with you.
I spend a lot of time thinking about ideals. When I shop, I never know what I’m looking for, but I always know what I don’t want to find. I have been left in dusty corners that I never want to be stuck in again, and I’ve run myself into walls over and over again, hoping they’d one day fall down. The truth is that I’ve only recently found that I deserve the freedom that comes along with not hating my physical embodiment. More importantly, I’ve just recently built up the courage to stop doubting myself and start trusting a little more. It’s true that there’s a beginning at each end, even if it is just the beginning of a life without. I’ve found by observation and experience alike that people tend to realize what they really want and what they really need at the exact moment when there just isn’t enough time to make it tangible or attainable. I think that’s why I’ve always admired people who arrive a little late everywhere they go- because when something is important enough, if there isn’t enough time already allocated, then you ought to make it. I still have not found the ideal balance of joy and realism, but I have spent enough time mapping and destroying and re-designing the perfect relationship day-after-day in my head. Being alone gives me a lot of down-time, and since I’ve chosen freedom, I’ve also chosen not to be enslaved by my thoughts. I usually allow myself to decide which fantasy or distant reality will be architected for the day. My mind wanders to you every time without fail, like a soothing soundtrack to placate my rash intolerance for stress and angst of the future. Like in shopping, I have yet to figure out exactly the attainable object I am looking for, but I know I haven’t found it yet. I have not found the you that always accompanies me, but our story is written out somewhere between an outline and a final copy, like a rough draft that I just need you to edit. Our introduction is way too happy. It’s the kind of high that can only go down, except we’re different because we spend healthy amounts of time apart, but still unhealthy amounts of time together. We get mad and we argue, but we also apologize, only when it’s sincere. You love to kiss, and you love to talk about everything and nothing, but you also love to listen to my heartbeat while we silently hold each other. You catch my attention at the beginning of every paragraph, like your name or your voice or your skin tone is the only hook I’d ever need, like the way that you just make sense is enough to captivate me long enough to use the word “forever.” The majority of our story is unspecific. It’s a whole lot of happiness, and it’s hard to read because a lot of the time it’s the kind of happy that bubbles out of people’s ears and leaches out of their skin and makes no sense. Sometimes, our anecdotes of the best days ever are separated by commas made of tears. They put things in perspective and slow us down, as if to warn us of the burn-out that is to come. I don’t know what we’ll do, maybe that’s because I want a large part of our story to be composed of us deciding that together, but I hope we travel and try new things all the time. I hope we dress up and dress down. I hope we sleep in just underwear for our whole lives together. I hope our forever is longer than any of my forevers ever have been before, and I hope we never stop changing. I think part of the reason I have yet to know who you are is because you are not that person yet, but you will be. When you start to dream of hammocks and driving around together, then let me know and I hope we can sit down and edit and add to this skeleton of a story that my imagination has drafted.
I’m over you, and I know that because when I see you, I think of what you’re wearing and the words that you are saying. I don’t see our future or happiness itself. I know I’m over you because I don’t hate you anymore, and I don’t hate myself anymore either. I never wonder what happened, but I still wish I knew. You have changed so much, but I don’t want to know you anymore. I cannot stop thinking of how my life would be if we were still “us.” I do not want you back. I want something- whether it be books or writing or fear- to fill the hole you punched in my chest. I keep wishing the world would let me be the person I was before I loved you, but I cannot remember myself; I just see pieces of me dispersed. Assembled, the pieces are how kissing you smelled and holing your hand tasted. Some days I am tired of being, but I have hope that I will one day find someone who makes me feel like you did, whose heart is as innocent as yours, whose hands fit perfectly around my ribcage. I am over you, and I remember all of the pain, but I’ll never be weak enough to forget you or the happiness we conjured.
aw this sort of thing always warms my heart! thank you so much, and it really does mean a lot :)
If I sat here in silence for ten minutes, I’d probably end up thinking of you, and that’s not fair because I know you haven’t thought of me in months, maybe years. I’d think about the way your hands are those of an old man, and your cheeks are those of an embarrassed
child. They’re permanently stained with the innocence of no first kiss, no despair, no loss. I’d think about getting over you and how it’s a sprint but also a marathon; painful and mindless, yet planned and determined. I’d think about how I got over you the first day that you didn’t talk to me and how I knew I could move on. I’d think about how time proved me wrong every day since then and how I feel like a dusty attic: a storage place for memories that were never quite important enough to display, but not painful enough to throw away, either. This is not because of you; it is not because I cannot live a full life without you. It is because I have yet to find the zeal for life that I felt asleep in your arms; it’s because I’m still looking for another face pretty enough to look forward to seeing, and a shoulder comfortable enough to rest on. I’m still trying to find someone whose words are worth reading at midnight when I have to be awake in five hours and someone whose lips are worth kissing in stolen moments. I’m looking for someone who is nothing like you. I don’t want slow or gentle anymore, and I’d like someone whose ambitions extend beyond staying safe. I’d like to kiss someone who has never been kissed back harder than they kiss. I want to hold someone who has only ever been taught how to be held, and I want to learn how to fall in love without being careful or kind, but rash and unsure but entirely correct, instead. I want someone with whom talking is welcome, like rain in a drought, kissing is irresistible, and cuddling is presumptuous. I want to have someone, and I can finally picture him taking your place. But if you were to leave me alone for 10 minutes, I’d probably think of you and how you left. I’d use the lack of a fight and the absence of your passion to map out my flaws and dissect why I am not worthy of having the kind of love that beats in my heart like a drum and distracts my mind from everything that’s more important. I’d probably forget his name and replace it with yours just long enough to forget that life goes on, even with loss and insincerity looming in the cloudy parts of self esteem and possibility.