When You Loved Me
There was a time when I was sure of everything. I would wake up in the morning and, no matter what would happen to me that day, I would know that I could go home and be with someone who truly cared about me. We don’t realize how important it is to have a true cheerleader — someone who is unfailingly on our team — until we don’t have it anymore. It’s like walking around everywhere with a warm, fuzzy security blanket on. There will always be a shock absorber for the more difficult-to-stomach moments of life, and someone there with whom to share your pains and your joys. It’s a luxury that so few of us are afforded, and yet, we are so quick to convince ourselves when we have it that it will last forever. It becomes a constant in our lives that we take for granted, the hum of a car that is driving us safely home as we fall asleep in the backseat.
And then, one day, it’s gone. You wake up and realize that your entire day will be navigated alone, and there won’t be someone there to ask you how it was and really care to hear your answer. When something wonderful or terrible happens, there won’t be that person you know you can immediately call to make sense of everything. Yes, you have friends, yes you have family. But there isn’t that sense of navigating the stream together, of being part of a team, of having someone who will always think of you first. The partnership is different — less all-encompassing, less implied. You know that you can call them, but you want to call the one you love. The one who, inconvenient as it is, no longer loves you.
There is something more difficult in losing the partner than losing the lover. You can almost accept that the sex, the kissing, the spooning, the whispered conversations at 3 AM are all over. What seems almost impossible to comprehend is this idea that you are now alone again after having someone else to depend on for so long. You get so used to the world being seen through the prism of “us” and “we” that to exist as an “I” again no longer seems to make sense. We had a plan, we had inside jokes, we had an entire world constructed between the two of us which has forever closed its gates. It feels as though everything has disappeared behind me, and even if I could physically retrace my steps, nothing would look the same.
It’s strange because I’m not even sure if “I want you back” would be an accurate description of the feelings I have, or a fair statement to make, given the awkward position of refusal it would put you in. It’s more that I miss how easy things were when we were together, and I’d like that sense of confidence back. I’d like the security, the knowledge of who I was and where I was going, and the certainty about what my desires were in life. There are many wonderful things to discover by yourself, but it’s natural to be afraid of loneliness and facing things with no support — and I am afraid. Your love gave me strength to do things that I am now re-learning how to do on my own. I must flex my own my own muscles, remember my own shortcuts, make my own networks.
Sometimes I come home and my apartment is empty. It seems so quiet, so cold, so big. I curl up alone with the whole evening in front of me — the freedom to do whatever I want. There are a million things I could do, a million people to call, a million choices to make which could lead me directly into the arms of someone I could end up loving more than I ever did you. And it’s at moments like these where I pick up my phone, look at your number, and wonder what you’ve been doing. I don’t call you, of course, but I wonder what you would have told me if we were still together and I was feeling so lonely, so unsure. “You’re so strong,” you would say, “You have nothing to worry about.” I guess what matters now is just remembering that it is true, even if you’re no longer here to remind me of it.
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I would rather jump around and sweat my body to a Lady Gaga song. Yoga is so overrated.
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4. When I mentioned my idea of applying for a competitive writing fellowship in addition to graduate programs, and you told me I shouldn’t.
Women want to see you in social situations, outdoors doing manly activities, on a boat holding a fish, ANYTHING that indicates you’ve got a life.