When We Said Goodbye For The First Time

Andrej Villa
Andrej Villa

I think I lost part of myself. I hate admitting that out loud. Or in words. There’s a secret shame that accompanies going so mad for another individual, especially one who never fully reciprocates that intensity. The kind of disaster that left me driving without headlights, wondering if something would crash into me. And in the lowest of lows, not really caring.

At the risk of being so cliche, he really fucked with my head. Twisting and turning, finding a way into every stupid thought. Fantasies. I’d fall asleep rereading our texts, just knowing he was everything I could ever want.

But I suppose I let it happen. I could have walked away so much earlier. I didn’t even walk away, eventually I moved. I moved 300 miles away because my body kept finding a way to his doorstep. I was a lost girl without a GPS, and I only knew how to navigate my sadness in his eyes. His hands. His laugh that I still hear sometimes when I’m asleep.

But that was later. After coming back a second time. This was just the first. I remember as a child I had such a lofty idea of love — that things click and work. It’s easy. And I’d know my own strength. I’d recognize my own worth.

I didn’t factor in what happens when you love someone more than you love yourself. And how it can almost kill you.

I already had a head swimming in too much, I didn’t need another reason to drown. But he was so beautiful in every way I thought I wanted, so I figured drowning at his hands didn’t seem like a terrible way to go. I would have pulled a Jack and given him the boat. It scares me how much I would have done. I still would. Honestly. I’d give him the lifejacket. I know this. I hate it, but I’d be fooling everyone if I didn’t expose the truth.

The truth is that I might always love him. We boomerang in cities and text messages and my heart is full and empty with his jawline.

He wasn’t even an ex. I wondered if I was allowed to mourn this ending in such a way. I wasn’t granted this grief in the way I figured I should be. We hadn’t loved in public ways. We weren’t in a relationship, something easily explained. No Facebook declaration that we’d gone in different directions. Or really, that I had finally said I couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t keep being his friend when we’d fall into bed and he’d say things like, “I’m not sure anyone else has ever understood me like you do.” And then a joke to cover up the moment of emotional vulnerability. And I’d laugh. Because that’s what you do when you’re in love with a comedian.

You laugh a lot.

You cry a lot.

You remember how funny he is and that he conducts electricity through your bones and sets everything on fire, in the good ways. In the bad ways. In the, what if I know I’m going to burn and this will destroy the entire house, but I still can’t walk away – ways. I couldn’t walk away.

But I did. I spilled my honesty and he said what he always did, “I just can’t. Please forgive me. I just can’t.”

So I decided I couldn’t either. I couldn’t anymore. I couldn’t come running to his apartment when he was lonely and needed me. I couldn’t text him every day and laugh and cry and feel like my internal organs were seconds away from spontaneous combustion all the time.

He cried and asked that I reconsider.

I wonder if he knew I would. Because this was only the first time. So I did reconsider. I always do.


I want to stop writing about you. But you keep coming back to me. I lost part of myself, remember? I think it’s still residing in you. I need it back. So does that mean I need you? TC mark

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Ari Eastman

✨ real(ly not) chill. poet. writer. mental health activist. mama shark. ✨

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