You bounced back and forth like the morning light glinting from the crystals on my window that winter, sunbeams gently taunting me with promises of melting them all away. Not yet, they teased. Hold out just a little longer. So I waited, watching there until spring came, until my breath no longer spread warmth across the glass. Until birds chirped and flowers bloomed, while the ice solidified around your heart instead.
You claim it happened gradually, but for me it was a sudden overnight death, waking up the morning after to a funeral for what we could have been. In wavering for months until you finally discovered how to turn cold, you shattered all of the hope I had for us and scattered it into pieces on the floor, learning how to love me from such a distance that it has only grown greater…with every day, with every disagreement, with every opportunity I’ve taken to admit how much damage you’ve done and with every time I’ve kept it all inside for fear of losing you entirely. I wish I could say that I’ve healed from this, but of all that I’ve given reprieve, you are the one and only person I cannot seem to forgive. After a lifetime of placing others before yourself and paying the price for it, you finally chose your career and your fresh start over everything else. As much as I mean it fully when I say that I’m happy for you, I still feel no different from the day I laid in your lap and cried when you told me you were leaving: abandoned. There are one hundred and thirty-nine miles between our homes, but because you have pushed me even further away, more than a million keeping us apart.
For a long time, I believed there was someone else. I psycho-analyzed each move you made, each call you ignored, each time you avoided my lips and each time you were nowhere to be found when I needed you. How could I not wonder? There were no more “I love you’s, no more weekend trips, no more visits with your mother, no more nice dinners — no more anything, honestly, unless I suggested it or pushed for it. Even then you would make excuses, leaving me feeling like I was planning my days with a person in mind that didn’t even want to be there at all. Today, I have stopped asking. I have stopped offering. I have stopped giving any more than I receive, because I finally understand that I need to let go of the person you were; you have almost lost touch with him entirely. You are no longer acting like the man I fell in love with. You are no longer the one that made sure I always felt needed and wanted. On many occasions, you show me glimpses of him, but most of the time you would rather be alone or with anyone other than me, spending time together the way that we used to. If you did so, you’d be taking the risk of thawing the heart you’ve trained to operate separately from the mind you have so clearly made up. You’d risk feeling again, falling again, and hurting again.
You taught me how to demand better, how speak up for myself, how to express myself, how to communicate, and how to recognize when someone loves me for who I am rather than what I can do for them. But you also taught me that even real love has a time limit. You taught me that even a man so different from the rest could still run away the moment I became emotionally available. You taught me that a man could give me the world and then tear it away when he no longer knew what he wanted…when I no longer met the standards he had promised himself to uphold before he even knew I existed, and that it would be acceptable to call me his best friend instead. You made me feel like the most beautiful, intelligent, valuable woman in the world, only to end up making me feel like all of those things were entirely inconsequential because my baggage was too heavy for you to handle. You rekindled my belief in love, only to make me question it again, making me feel like no matter how much someone cares for me, they’ll still consider me an option or an afterthought. And sometimes, that makes me wish I could be the old me: to hurt you, to make you feel what I do, to shut my phone off, go out and get the attention I wish you’d give me from someone else, telling you every last detail about it so you’d know you could be losing me. Other times I just want someone to sleep next to me, to calm me in the storm of nightmares that rage inside my head. But I only feel empty when it’s not you at my side, so I’d rather listen to the thunder alone. Happy some nights, but just as jaded as before, because I made the mistake of imagining life with yet another man who may never stop looking for greener grass.
It has been a while since I’ve fought for your attention and longer since I’ve denied the fact that you were slipping away. But the moment I’m ready to quit you, when I’m too hurt to go on loving you, you smile that smile at me and everything fades away. You come, then you leave, and you always leave me wanting more. Maybe that’s my curse. The unrequited love. The reaching out only to be shoved away. The kind gestures, the lingerie, the stupid attempts to be loved more, noticed more, desired more just to feel something — anything other than the oppressive feeling of loving someone more than they love you, when you were convinced you had finally found the first person who loved you the way you had always needed.
What starts in chaos, ends in chaos. That’s what we always said. But how can such a phrase apply to us? How could we have started in chaos, when after nearly ten years of my life raging like a hurricane, you walked into it and suddenly the waters were calm? The emotional bond you forged to be so strong, we still cannot break. It could result in the best damn relationship of our lives. But it hasn’t, because you refuse to recognize that your fear of being vulnerable speaks to something bigger than you are willing to face: that deep down you have never believed you are deserving of love. But no matter how far you stray, how much time you need or how much space you seek to find your path in life, my feelings never change. So I stay loyal and faithful to a man who is not mine, out of respect for a commitment we do not have, hoping one day you will know that when you are being the man I met — and even when you aren’t — you are worth it. Hoping that one day, you will wake up and realize that the one woman who values you more than anyone else ever did should be given the place she deserves — the place you gave to all the ones who always put you second — and that there is no one who could love you better.