First, I will delete all of the texts between us. I will make sure that there are no traces of you left here. All of the screenshots of the words you sent will no longer be there to remind me of how much I used to mean to you. I will not be able to look back at our inside jokes; I know one day soon I will even forget the sound of your laugh. Without your past words to prove that at one point you really did care about me, I will try to convince myself that there was never really anything there in the first place.
Next, I will delete our only photo. Somewhere deep in the depths of our social media accounts, it will still be there. And every year on April 13th, we will both be reminded of the kind stranger we shared some of our best moments with. The day will pass, and the photo will recede back into the depths; the memory will fade until next year’s anniversary. I will not be able to look at it on days when I miss your warm smile. I will not be able to look at it on the days when I start to feel like I can no longer remember the intricate details of your face. I will no longer be able to look at this photo to remind myself that for a moment in time, we had everything. We had each other.
After I have erased all of the tangible traces of you left lingering on my various devices, I will be forced to move on to the physical memories you left behind. Your mostly broken phone charger that I accidentally took one night will finally be disposed of; some things really are beyond repair. I won’t have to look at it and be reminded of the way you broke me and left; I can finally let go of the hurt you caused me. Maybe now my wounds will finally begin to heal.
The programs from our evenings at the ballet will have to go next. These are the items that carry the heaviest weight for me. I haven’t been able to enjoy the ballet since you left. It became our thing, and I no longer know how to enjoy it without you by my side. I will read the poem inside the final program again and again, but I will never do justice to the absurdly hilarious way you read it. The words just don’t sound the same without you.
Without the tangible reminders of you in my life, all I will have left to deal with are the memories. How can I tell my brain to stop thinking of the person that has been on my mind every day since the day we first met? How can you erase the way someone made you feel? I know that neither of those goals are realistic. I can let you go, but I will never be able to forget you.
I will start feeling sad every time I look at an avocado, which sounds ridiculous until you understand the entirety of its meaning in our relationship. Every time I see them at the grocery store, I am transported back to our final night together—the night I didn’t know would actually be our last. I will pick up an avocado, and then I will remember the way you held one and told me all about how to choose the very best one. I will remember the way I stood there patiently as you explained, all the while thinking about how I already knew that I had indeed chosen the very best one.
I will snap out of the memory, and I will pick whichever one my hand goes to first. I will put it in my cart and move on with my life. Maybe I will stop trying to find the very best one and will just settle for good enough. Good enough is reliable and safe; the best things always seem to come with the highest risks.
Always finishing my own cups of coffee will be next on my list of things to accomplish. I no longer have you here to drink the other half when everything feels like too much. I will begin diving into those overwhelming moments, and I will not emerge until I have conquered them. I will no longer see that cup of coffee as half full or half empty; I will just know that on any given day, I am taking exactly as much as I need. Some days, that will mean that I will feel like I am drowning in it, while others, it will just be too bitter to finish. I will finally begin to understand that I never needed anyone else to finish something for me; I have always known just how much I needed.
The days since you left me will turn into months, and those months into years. I will have destroyed every tangible memory between us, and I will finally learn to live a life without you in it. I will stop hoping that every missed call is yours. I will stop waiting for the day that you will return to me. I will finally stop hoping that you will change your mind, because I will finally understand that if you wanted to be here, you would be. I will see just how much life I have lived without you and how much more is out there waiting for me.
That is how I will finally learn to let you go.