Today I discovered you’re gone. I mean not physically. Or spiritually.
Gone from my life however. Actually, I’m gone from yours. You see, you’re still on my mind. You never left my memory, my dreams, my heart. But I left yours. Now, someone else takes my spot.
Last night was when I found out you had a new man. That’s when I wrote everything above. I had to step away from writing and gather my thoughts until now, two mornings later.
You know, I can’t seem to figure out whether I’m frustrated you’ve found someone who isn’t me, or the fact I haven’t found anyone.
The last time I talked to you was two months ago, and the last time I saw you was four months ago, for an hour in a coffee shop. Now I’m here, 3200km away from you. Ever since we stopped talking I’ve been taking the opportunity to find myself. Discover what I want, what I need. Discovering what I love about myself and all of my qualities. I’ve been exploring the Canadian Rockies, playing instruments, training with a coach, rock climbing, and writing.
For a while it was going well. I still thought about you, but less. I still missed you, but less. There were a couple nights I’d sit in my room at night with myself and Canadian Club (10 years aged). All in all, it was a big improvement from where we were a year ago.
But you see, I always held onto you. I always kept faith we would be back together.
You were off at school, fulfilling your hockey scholarship in America. For so time, you struggled with our situation too. I can’t blame you, you wanted to embrace every aspect of college. I don’t hold that against you. The distance seemed trivial to us the week before you left for first year. Watching you pull out of the driveway to move to America was the first time it really sank in. You pulled off in tears as I stood there on the street, waving you goodbye. Smile on my face, trying to hold back every emotion I felt. Trying to stay strong for you.
You needed me then, like I need you now. You were so afraid of leaving, so afraid of going off to school. I always knew you’d flourish into the ambitious, intelligent woman you are today.
Those tears I had to force myself to hold back until you turned the corner, those were a result of knowing you’d be better off in those next few years without me.
You were fully convinced I was the one, but I knew you’d grow apart. Through no fault of our own, that’s what happened.
You didn’t go out much in first year, I visited you a lot. I went to interviews and screenings to get a Nexus pass so I could cross the border without any hassle. I still remember every border security guard asking me why I had a girlfriend in America. The following summer you came home, one of our first hang outs with you back, you ended the night in tears. Explaining to me you were scared because you started to feel like you were changing. You saw your teammates going out, meeting new people, and you wanted to join in.
You were so upset, you didn’t want to hurt me by going out and meeting new people, you felt guilty of doing your own thing without me. That conversation will never leave my mind. The fact you even came to me with that type of honesty is, and will forever be one of the most appreciated traits you hold. You were so strong. I knew that was the beginning of the end. We enjoyed the rest of our summer together and the following year I went to college in Canada. That’s when things turned dark.
Knowing you had these changing thoughts, I became more insecure about our relationship. We were 18. I didn’t know how to handle it, so instead of loving you similar to the years prior, I tightened my grip. We never believed the hype everyone warned us about.
“Couples grow apart once they go to school”.
“Long distance doesn’t work”. To us, we were stronger than that.
Unfortunately, your second year of college was bigger than we could handle. We went on a break, although I’m pretty positive that was just a window of guilt free opportunity for you. I still don’t blame you. I’ll never hold that against you. Within weeks of our falling out, we agreed to give it another shot.
The things that happened during our break were just too haunting for me to really appreciate what we had.
I couldn’t sleep most nights, knowing you were doing your own thing while I was in a small school with only males in my program, and minimal partying. I guess I was slightly jealous of your situation. That jealousy and insecurity broke us. I’m sorry for that. Fast forward to the summer after second year, we hung out that whole break and acted as if everything was fine. But both my grandparents passed away near August, I felt a disconnect from you. I couldn’t deal with us growing apart at a rapid pace, and the passing of my grandparents, I needed a change. I broke up with you, which we both knew sooner or later one of us had to.
You were already a couple months into third year and I was on my way to Calgary, 3200km from home. I drove through America so I could see you before I left, not knowing when I’d return. We hung out for an hour, and I replayed every minute of it throughout my three day travel. I had strongly felt maybe things would be better for us. For you, I think that was your final goodbye.
Immediately I regretted all of my insecurities, I was in Calgary now thinking about you more than ever. I wrote you, and sent you pictures of the city for a while. You never wrote back. So when I came home for Christmas in December, I was eager to see you again. Something in you had changed the little time I was gone. It was like pulling teeth trying to meet you for coffee. Again, we met for an hour just to talk. I never wanted to leave that coffee shop, I could have watched you all night. I knew you’d been struggling while I was gone, you knew it wasn’t healthy, what we developed into.
Being the strong woman you are, you pulled yourself away from me, but it only drew me closer. Of course, only closer in thought, because shortly after we met up, I flew back to Calgary. The last time I had messaged you was in February, to tell you how sorry I was, and how badly I wanted to be us again.
I told you I knew you had changed, but I didn’t care, I would adapt and learn to love you all over again. To me, our past trials and tribulations seemed trivial to how strongly I felt about you.
I was walking through the city that morning, gazing up at all the giant buildings, thinking how much you’d love this city. You messaged back with what felt like getting hit by a train.
You told me you weren’t in that place anymore. You already seemed to be fine and so mature. I couldn’t understand how I was miserable and you were fine. We both experienced the same thing, it took two of us to develop our relationship. There was something I was missing. I couldn’t figure it out. But two days ago I realized how you became happy again.
I would be an awful liar if I said it didn’t sting. Finding out that I’m no longer that boy you needed on the first day of school was hard enough. Finding out there was another boy is even harder. I don’t consider myself to be in my emotions, but whenever it came to you, I couldn’t control them. I messaged you this morning to ask if you were happy. I already knew what your answer would be, but like the foolish boy I am, I’ve always held faith and hope.
What hurts me the most is the fact you still know me best. More than anyone. I feel like I can talk about myself or anything in my past and you’d understand all of it. Why I act the way I do, and the little habits I have. We both exposed each other’s habits and secrets through the years together.
So when I want to reflect and reminisce about a happy time, I wish you were there to talk about it. To me, it was always about the quality of our positive moments. Every relationship has dark moments and times of struggle, but it’s the quality of your happy memories that reflect your relationship. We were the trophy couple. I still remember your pet Chinese fighter fish, Maurice. I bet you forgot about that.
That time in my college dorm, I bugged you for weeks to sing while I played the guitar. I had just learned how to play Sleeping Sickness by City and Colour, one of my favourite bands. I handed you the lyrics after you finally gave in to my nagging. I started playing and you sang beautifully. This was the second time hearing the song for you so you were getting frustrated with how the rhythm went. I tried singing the verse for you, encouraging you. Little did you know, I was recording it on my phone the whole time. I still have that recording, the conversation, the frustration, and then the successful verse at the end. We were perfectly in sync, like you and I used to be.
I know that you’re happy now, and I’ll be living in Banff soon enough. I don’t have many regrets, but one of them is not being able to remain that happy couple we were for so many years. We shared a connection that will forever be sacred and cherished.