Today I saw you for the first time since you left.
Every day I still spend my lunch hour in the same place we used to go, and I scan the crowd for your face. But I never actually expect you to be here.
In the weeks since you left, I thought about all I’d say to you if I saw you again. I make up an endless number of scenarios in my head over and over again – it happens when my thoughts drift. It happens on morning commutes. Lying in bed. Sitting at a coffee shop. When I’m out with friends at the bar. When I’m staring into space, lost in thought.
It’d go a little something like this: You’d walk by me. I’d call out your name. I’d ask you for the apology you denied me. I would tell you how much I’ve missed you. And for some reason, I was convinced I would be absolutely okay to do all that when the opportunity presented itself, and that it wouldn’t emotionally hurt anymore.
Today’s a sunny day – a nice reprieve from the constant gray and the fall rain. Today felt hopeful, unlike all the other days when all I felt was brokenness. And when I least expected it, I looked up from my laptop, and there you were – no less than 5 feet away, looking for a spot to sit, your lunch in your hand.
You were wearing your favorite blue sweater, the one you wore when we first met last October in that pub. I always used to rest my head on your chest with your arm around me. I still remember how that sweater felt when I leaned on you, with the comforting smell of your cologne lingering on it.
I stopped cold. I couldn’t even look at you. You must’ve seen me – because out of the corner of my eye, you walked away quickly.
And for a brief moment, I wished I could turn back time – it was you coming to sit next to me, just like how you’d done every day before we fell apart.
I wasn’t prepared for how I would feel when I saw you again. There was no way I would’ve had the courage to say anything in that moment. Time froze.
I suddenly felt sad seeing your familiar presence after all that time. Simultaneously, I was insanely angry again for how you treated me, the words you said, the names you called me, how you sexually assaulted me, and how you left me. It was also strangely nostalgic, wishing I could be with you one last time, instead of how you ended it over text messages.
If only there was one last hug. One last kiss. One last goodbye – the goodbye I never got to say. The closure I never got.
But I know deep down, despite wanting to be with you all over again, that I need to move on. You left my life without caring to give me an explanation, and for that, I need to respect myself enough to never want to be with you again.
It’s okay right now to still be grieving. It’s okay to miss you. It’s okay to admit that I’m still in love with you. It’s okay that I felt the way I did when I saw you again today.
It’s okay to still not be okay, even after all this time.