When you’re still in love with not the one.
It’s the worst type of anxiety. It’s the waiting, the hoping, the wanting of some result, a moment that you’re not sure of…but that you are sure will come.
It’s when you are still in love, so much so that your heart hurts and your body misses the pocket formed by his and you find yourself pushing back searching for it, expecting that any moment the heat of his chest will hit your back and spread through your body like pure comfort, but then you get all the way to the other side of the bed and it’s not there. Your throat tightens, your chin shakes, you breathe deeply trying to fill your lungs and relax your breathing, but it’s like there’s not enough air in the room nor space in your lungs and a tear escapes from the corner of your eye.
The love is there – but is it enough. Is it enough to endure these moments, these quiet, lonely, cold months that are becoming your life between the week that you get to spend together. You don’t want to do as you have in the past, where you feel that crazed premature need to protect yourself, cut your losses and get out.
The relationship has not run its course, yet you feel in the deepest part of you that its not for forever, but you don’t feel ready to say goodbye, knowing that that goodbye will be forever. Knowing that unless something incredibly unpredictable happens, as unpredictable as falling in love in the first place had been…that you will never see each other again. That his life path, unlike others you have loved, those who appear every now and then as your ghosts of Christmas past, his path will not cross yours, there will be no chance encounters or coincidental sightings, no mutual friends that will send a picture of him at a bar – warning/ beckoning you there to tempt fate. No comforting notion that in some way however distant or improbable, he might be there, no abstract thought that you could meet for a coffee one day. One day when you are old and grey and have separate lives but just want to say hi, just to see that spark in his eyes to know that he is happy and well and to remember what it was like to be 23 and in love and to recall the good things he taught you about life and love and yourself and to remember the ways he helped you to grow, and to remember the reasons why you couldn’t keep growing together.
When you say goodbye to him – you know that it will be the last time he holds you, the last time you see him standing in front of you, the last time his lips will press against yours, the last time he will fake a grown of discomfort as you crawl into his lap before burying his face in your hair.
You hold his eyes wishing there was more time, wishing it was a normal relationships with normal timelines, wondering if he can see that beneath the love there is sadness, and beneath that there is uncertainty. Wishing that there was a way to co-exist in each other’s world in a way that was easy, in a way that made sense. You wonder if things would really be different then, if the fights you have now would fade away, if the distinctions in the way you thought about things were circumstantial or cultural or actually the way you were each built. You want to blame it on the situation, you want to brush those things aside as temporary problems, as conflicts brought on by the precarious position the relationship seemed to always be in…but you know deep down that the topics would change, but the tension and the fighting and the struggle to keep each other happy would still be there.
You wonder if you will ever be able to go back to the place where you met and fell in love, if his home country, with all of its beauty and charm and history could be big enough for both of you, or if it would feel altogether more foreign that it had ever been at all. Would you avoid it? Could you impose a personal travel embargo on an entire country because it would feel like an intrusion, act of disrespect? Or would it just be different? Perhaps it would then be just a place on a map, without the enchantment and excitement and mystery and anticipation that it held big plans for a young girl.
And in the meantime, these wild surface questions are distracting you from the harder more painful realities…you just keep waiting, knowing that you can’t stay, but waiting for the moment where you know it’s time to go. I keep waiting for some moment when I don’t care, when I feel nothing, when it won’t hurt me so much to say goodbye…In some ways it feels like I am waiting for the love to run out…but that moment doesn’t come, the love is not running out, I will always care. This glorious epiphany will never strike, the moment of clarity and conviction and courage is a hopeful myth…you must stop waiting, or you will end up somewhere you don’t belong.