I am the one before the one. What this means is that I am the right girl at the wrong time. I am the one who teaches you to listen to the sound of your heartbeat, who proves that there are strangers out there who will fall in love with your smile, who opens your eyes to new possibilities. You will be curious again. You will forget the wounds others have left on you, even though they are still very much there. You will be all too eager to escape with me. You will think you’re ready. You will rush.
I am the lesson you learn. I am the one who teaches you that if you try to run before you can walk, you will fall all too quickly. You will fall over and over and over again, and I will be beside you the whole time, believing that when you do finally leave, you will leave with me.
I am the reason you stop reading. I am too open a book for you. At first you will think these words are vivid and sweet, but you will soon find that words repeated too often lose their meaning, even if the author means them each time. I will bore you with my affection. I will try so desperately to get you to understand that my feelings towards you cannot be contained in a couple of paragraphs. You will flip through me and toss me aside.
I am the garden you stop tending to. You will anticipate flowers and the taste of new fruit. I will take a long time to grow. You will grow impatient. You will think my flora too high maintenance and you will look for another plot of land. You will be more careful in choosing what to plant next time, and so careful you will be in choosing her. You will not make the same mistake.
Your next girl will be a lush forest. She will be good enough for you as she is. She will pique your interest. She will be everything I was, and everything I couldn’t be. She will have my ability to love and grow, but she will not stop there. She will be independent and self-sustaining. You will not need to care for her as constantly as you had to with me. She will introduce you to new ferns and wild butterflies. She will bring you life.
Your next girl will be the reason you read again. She will be mysterious, her front cover so creatively designed; you cannot help but pick her up. She will be sophisticated and well-written and reveal just enough to keep you captivated. You will never get enough of her plot twists and climaxes. She will be exciting and refreshing and new, and you will learn so much from her. You will not fold her corners, or roll her up, or try to make her smaller and more convenient to carry around the way you did with me.
Your next girl will be the right girl at the right time. She will never see the side of you I had, all skinned knees and bruises. She will admire your strength and not know how much effort it took for you to get this way. It will not matter—she will be the one you will leave me behind for.
Your next girl will be the one. You will be glad you had met me first, because I had prepared you for her. She will be your heart and your smile and your eyes. You will be content and healed and ready. You will call her “love” and it will feel right this time. You will not want to escape anymore because you’ve finally found home. Your next girl will be home.