There are some people who come into our lives and from the start, we know things will only be temporary. They flicker with the kind of magic that has a palpable expiration date. There’s no grand illusion of a future together. There’s no crystal ball in the corner, shimmering with some image of a wrinkled couple sitting together on the front porch.
You know the lights will eventually dim, the curtains will close, the bartender will shout, “Last call!” and you’ll kiss the entire chapter goodbye. You’ll shut the book.
But that doesn’t make it any less meaningful.
Before you, I never bought into the idea of a summer romance. With all the heat, I wanted bodies far away from me. I wanted to swim in my own solitude. I didn’t want to share the AC with anyone. I was happy that way. When the months got colder, maybe I’d feel differently. But I could handle sunshine on my own. I liked it that way.
You arrived in town like a tidal wave. I am nervous around large bodies of water, that’s why you rarely find me at the beach. But then, you were there. And I was diving into depths I promised I never would. I would lick the sea salt off your cheeks and go back for more. You were the embodiment of my everything I swore off — a love that wouldn’t be forever.
I can’t do casual. It’s just not in my nature. When I love, I love with every part of my body. I’ll love you with my back, bend in ways I didn’t know I could go. I’ll love you with my ears, listen when you’re afraid no one really hears you. I’ll love you with my shoulders, let you rest when everything else is weighing too heavy.
I don’t become somewhat attached — I’m all the way or nothing. I was taught as a little girl to say how I felt, even if it made people around me nervous. I’ll be the first one to burst with those three little words. I don’t care to play power games. Frankly, I just don’t know how.
But with you, I found myself wanting to love you in the moment. With you, I wasn’t consumed with whether or not you’d be the one I brought home for the holidays. I didn’t freak out over our differences, if they would propel us into different directions one day. Because we already knew.
We weren’t going to end up together.
Some would argue that had it meant enough, we would have figured it out. We would have made sacrifices, compromises to make sure our love had a fighting chance. I used to be one of those people. I thought if love was strong enough, it was all that mattered. Forget everything else. Love is enough.
But no, love isn’t always enough. It’s a bitter pill to swallow. It’s a truth that makes a lot of people feel uncomfortable, they don’t want to admit life can get in the way.
The last time you kissed me, I tasted all our time together and didn’t regret a second. There’s something special in recognizing even something brief can be powerful. Even something brief can be life-changing. You made an indelible impression on me.
You reminded me to take chances. With myself, with other people. You reminded me that not everything has to go according to plan. You reminded me that it’s okay to accept what comes and love it every second its here.
Sure, you weren’t my forever. But you were my then. You were my ‘at one time.’ And goodness, how beautiful it was.