If They Leave You, You Must Let Them Go

Jörg Schubert
Jörg Schubert

“If he leaves, you have to let him go,” My mother sits at the kitchen table, offering up this simple sentence. I want to tell her it isn’t that easy and I don’t understand why. She gently pushes a plate of food towards me, but I’m not hungry. Her eyes are green, just like mine. I can see the worry. I want to tell her I’m okay.

But in that moment, I’m not.

“But why would he say those things? I don’t understand. Nothing makes sense.” I stare at my hands because I’m afraid to look straight at my mom. We have faced unimaginable demons together, taking turns at the helm. We have steered ships straight through storms, together. We are Athenas, strong and resilient. We are warriors, and I know this. But a boy has left me and I can’t stop crying. I want to ask her how I can stand so tall against boulders, but he throws a pebble and I come apart.

“Not everything makes sense. And sometimes, trying will drive you insane,” She offers.

I have learned people can say the opposite of what they mean. Or maybe even worse? They can mean it. They can say things with full honesty. They want you and love you. Everything is real and authentic. But it changes. Our feelings, our hopes, our wants, can change with such quickness, it leaves you spinning in the driveway. I watch him walk out of the apartment with a new decision. He will be with her now. He wants her now.

But I still ask myself: Why? Why do I feel so much and he suddenly has changed his mind?

If they leave, you have to let them go. Because otherwise? You will sit waiting in the driveway. Your stomach will land inside your mouth with every headlight you see. You will become convinced each car is theirs. That this next one, that will be it. They will come back. That is was all a dream, or a nightmare. So you sit. And you wait. The sun sets and comes back up, and you’re still waiting.

But my darlings, if you wait too long, the sun will keep setting and rising and you will have not moved. I’m not saying they won’t ever come back. Maybe they do. Maybe they don’t. Hell, I’m no clairvoyant. I do not know your situation or your outcome. But if they have left, you have to let them go. You have no other choice. Because they made this decision. They could have stayed.

And they didn’t.

I’m sorry. I want to hug you right now because that’s harsh and it hurts. But they made a deliberate choice of their own free will. I don’t know why. Maybe you don’t either. But it happened. And now is the time for you.

It is your time. Look at that sun setting, isn’t it beautiful? Okay, that’s cheeseball and I’m sorry, but SERIOUSLY. Look at that damn sun! The sun is a giant star 92,960,000 miles from Earth and here you are, looking at it. It is the most important source of life for our planet and here you are, looking at it. That is something to take in. We are all so sure our problems, especially of the romantic nature, are the end of universes, but the sun keeps burning.

So you need to keep burning. You are a star on Earth, and again, I’m sorry if I’m being melodramatic, but hey — someone’s got to remind you. Someone left you and now you’re wondering if you are just ash. Are you the aftermath of a star exploding? No. You are a star reaching new heights. You are learning to be okay with your place in the sky. Shooting stars are the cowards, running away. You, my love, you are here. You did not run.

If they leave, kiss them goodbye and mean it. Maybe you were too bright and beautiful for them. Let them leave. Move forward with who you are meant to be, separate of them. You may crumble and wonder if it’s worth it.

You are.

“How can I let him go?” I ask my mom once more, hoping this time it will be an answer that automatically clicks.

“You just do. Maybe slowly, maybe it takes time. But eventually, you do.” Thought Catalog Logo Mark

About the author

Ari Eastman

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

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