You learned at an early age how important it is to listen. It wasn’t just the act of silence while another person speaks — it was being an active participant. Looking at them. Hearing them. Seeing them. Being engaged with the conversation.
“Are you listening to me?”
“Hey, listen to me!”
So you would. Or, you’d try. Honestly, you weren’t always good at it. Your mind often feels like a horse racing field, so much dust being kicked up and movement, it’s hard to stay focused. Stillness, you realize, is not something you were born knowing how to do. You’ve had to train. You’ve had to practice.
You’ve had to listen.
And so you do. You look people in the eyes when they speak and make mental notes to store away. They are upset about this or they love a band — you remember. Stow it away in the deep recesses of your brain in case it ever becomes information you’ll need.
You start to close your eager mouth. Fight your impulse to interrupt, though sometimes, you still do. You just have so much to say, thoughts that never quite stay inside. They come bursting out with an excitement. You’re always bursting, running, circling that track with a speed others can’t always understand.
So maybe it isn’t that shocking that you don’t listen to what he says. Not really. He warned you. He told you. Your friends prepare to villainize him, but they can’t. You tell them not to. Because he isn’t the bad guy.
Maybe you are.
The one who refused to listen.
You convinced yourself he was being dishonest, perhaps from fear or an addiction to detachment. Or perhaps you foolishly hoped he would just change his mind. That’s how it happens in the movies, right? They change their mind. They fall in love. They give some dramatic bullshit monologue in airports, “It was you! It was you all along!”
But that’s not what life is. And you knew that.
You knew that people rarely change their minds. We are creatures set in habit and routine, change isn’t a process we are used to. And when we do? It doesn’t happen overnight. We evolve slowly. Too slowly for this. You know he will not come around simply because he has kissed you and held you. He will not go back on his word.
He warned you.
So you fall into regret and self-blaming because you didn’t listen. You forgot.
But darling, it’s okay. We all forget sometimes — we’re human.
Next time, you decide, you will listen. Even when it hurts. Because it’s better than breaking your own heart.