Remember when we were kids—young, in love, and naïve—and we’d always say, “this isn’t goodbye, because this isn’t forever. It’s a see you later.”
I’m not young and naïve anymore. I’m still in love, so deep and desperately in love, but it’s taken far longer than it should have to realize that your love, our love, is not enough.
Whereas you can put a smile on my face when no one else can, and I still feel like a teenager when I’m wrapped in your arms, I can’t rest forever on momentary glimpses of the man I need.
You know my past—hell, you are a large part of it—but that also means you know what I’ve been running from my entire life. The one person who took my uncompromising trust and twisted it until it didn’t resemble anything else I’ve known, turning me into a dark and jaded person.
Whenever I think of him, I’m suffocated by memories I want to forget. I’m paralyzed by the fact I let someone do that to me time and time again without learning my lesson.
I think of him a lot these days. Not because I want to, but because your actions parallel his. You promised me you used that as a lesson of who not to be. I believed you because I was positive it wouldn’t happen a second time. I learned how to be a better judge of character because of him—if he gave me no other gift, it was that.
Turns out, what he gave me wasn’t a gift. It was a curse. A curse that I would fall victim to the ones who speak in poetry and paint vivid pictures of tomorrow, all the while promising that my heart is safe in their hands. You, my love, are not safe. You took my heart and locked it away, and I’ll never get it back. Because you are just like him.
Each step forward we make, each time I convince myself you’re not him after all, you return to the safety of your distance, stretching my trust and the truth, as far as it can go. When it finally snaps, I’m the only one who gets hurt. You, somehow, remain unscathed.
My heart, being in your hands, convinces me it was the last time and I believe it.
I can’t do that anymore.
Keep my heart. Tuck it in your pocket and pull it out occasionally to polish the dull that sets in from disuse, maybe smile when you think of me.
Me, I’ll be long gone. Living with a hollow in my chest, pain ricocheting through the hole left behind. Eventually, I’ll learn to live with it and it won’t hinder my steps forward. My heart will forever beat for you, hidden in the darkness that is you, but my life will no longer revolve around you. Because the Beatles were wrong, love isn’t all you need.
Maybe one day the hollow where my heart used to reside will be filled again. Wounds may heal, scars may fade, but memories live forever. Yours will always be there, each one earning a smile and a twinge of despair for what could have been.
I will love you until I take my last breath, maybe I’ll even think of you then, in a grateful moment to my maker for allowing me the luxury of loving you in my life. But that’s all I am willing to give you.
I can’t live on hope that things are going to be different. I have to make them so, and that starts with letting you go.
Be free. God knows I will be.