Can We Stop Pretending Like We Never Mattered?

All of my life, I had been waiting for that life-changing person to enter into my world. Every time I thought I found them, they slipped away from me, and I was left alone again to pick up all of my shattered pieces. I told myself time and time again that one day, one person would not leave. They would not run at the first sign of danger. They would not disappear the moment my emotions start to get the best of me. No, one day, one person was going to be brave. One day, one person was going to put in the work to carve beauty out of ruin. The day I met you was the day I thought I had finally found the One.

Two years later, I now know that I was wrong. You were the first person I ever met that I truly felt I could envision a future with. You were the first person to make me feel comfortable in my own skin. To you, I was beautiful, inside and out. You saw my soul, and I felt like I saw yours. Tell me, how can you just pack up and leave someone you exposed your soul to? How can you summarize two beautifully turbulent years into “something fun?” Was it fun for you to cut someone out of your life who you tried to make plans for a future with? Did you enjoy the last time you ever had to see my name light up across your screen right before you deleted all of the words we had ever shared? Was it worth it to erase one of the only people who ever truly saw you for everything you had always tried to hide?

I think that is a problem we both shared. The hiding. We knew our time together in the same city was fleeting, so we took turns pretending we did not care as deeply for the other as we both know that we did. If you are reading this, I know that you did. Words are not the only methods of communication. The way that you looked at me was enough to make me yours forever. We were connected the moment our eyes first met. We didn’t have to speak to ignite the spark I fear will never leave me. I was always hoping you would never leave me, but I didn’t want to tell you that and scare you away. I didn’t want to tell you that I thought we were both in over our heads and that I felt like I was drowning, but not from waters I would ever want to be saved from. I always thought it would hurt less if we never made it anything real. I thought you couldn’t break a heart that was never formally yours.

I am not sure how I managed to convince myself this would never hurt.

I’m not sure if this will ever stop hurting.

Maybe I am just being dramatic, or maybe you are sitting there feeling all of these things, too. Can we just stop pretending like we never mattered? Two people don’t have to spend an eternity together to make their relationship significant. You can fall in love and have your heart broken all in one day and that doesn’t make your love any less important. Until you came back into my life all of those months after we first met, I never thought I would have more time with you. I always hoped I would be lucky enough to have our paths cross again, but I knew regardless of whether or not we would meet again that you would always be an important part of my story. You helped me believe that anything was possible and that love could truly happen at any given moment. You taught me that the best things in life are often the ones you would never expect to come your way. I have always been so thankful that you came my way.

Until I met you, I had been so broken. I was struggling to put myself back together after a painful end to an even more painful relationship destroyed me in ways I had never imagined possible. I found it so hard to believe in fate after everything I had been through. I never felt like I would find someone I could connect with mind, body, and soul. I always assumed something else would have to give in order to find someone to spend this life with. But then I met you. I met the first person who looked at me like I was the treasure they had been looking for their entire lives. You told me I was perfect, and for the first time in 25 years, I actually believed it. Something about you was always different. I knew from the beginning that you would be someone I would never forget.

But now, I fear you have done everything you can to forget me. Sometimes I still blame myself for destroying everything that we had. But then I remember that our relationship, our friendship, whatever you consider it that we had, was made up of more than just me. We both could have done so much more to protect each other. We both could have said so much more to let the other know how we were actually feeling. I could have let you go in peace and chosen to forgive and forget. And you could have told me the truth, instead of erasing me from your history. But that is the thing about life. You don’t always get a second chance to make things right. Sometimes the harsh words that leave your mouth are the last ones you will ever get to speak, and you are the one who has to go to bed every night wishing you could take it all back.

I am sorry that I hurt you, but I am not sorry that we shared the times that we did together. I have been trying to tell myself every day since you left that none of this mattered. That we didn’t matter. That you were just another face in a sea of many and that one day I would forget I even knew you. And every day I tell myself these things, I am lying to myself. You are lying to yourself. If you try to pretend like I was just a fun time you had that one time you lived in that one city, you are wrong, and I think we both know that.

You used to say that you could never see yourself getting mad at me. And now, I think, you were right. How can you get mad at a person who doesn’t even exist? If you continue pretending like I was just another girl like all of the rest, you will never have to feel anything towards me. You can’t regret what you consider yourself never even having in the first place.

Every time I think I have finally forgotten you, I see another little reminder of everything that we shared. I think of you every day when I pass the train stop I finally agreed to give you my number at. I think of you every day when I walk past the coffee shop you felt was your home here in this city. I think of you a thousand times in a thousand different ways, and I don’t think that will ever change. I am trying to fill my heart with a fondness for the past instead of sadness for a future without you. Maybe our time together is over, but I will never forget the love you showed me.

You don’t have to be my forever to be someone who matters in my life. After all, our lives are made up of millions of moments, some so small we hardly notice them until after they have already passed. Don’t let something fade into insignificance because it was not a seemingly huge, earth-shattering moment. Someday, you will wave at a cute stranger, and in that moment, that one small gesture will create a bigger change in your life than you ever could have imagined. I have learned to accept that something fleeting does not have any less impact than something long-lasting.

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