This Is What It Was Like To Love You, This Is What It’s Like To Lose You

haley
haley

I’m sitting on the train drinking a 40 out of a paper bag as the miles expand between us, and I can’t shake the urge to get off at the next small town stop and run the whole way back to Brooklyn. Back to my city, back to you.

I came to New York four years ago with nothing, and I’m leaving with an even greater deficit. The city has given and taken its share from me, but I count each failed relationship, each missed career opportunity, and each step on the subway as my path to you.

I don’t think I’ve regretted much in my life. There was the boy-short haircut of ’99 that left me as a brunette, less vocally inclined version of Annie. Maybe my stint dating the surfer burnout that one summer in California I could erase from memory. But I’ve barreled ahead in life apologizing for very little until now.

I met you before you saw me. I met you at the same moment 500 others met you – on a stage while your lyrics and that angelic voice melted our collective cold, New Yorker shells. I imagined the lucky woman who got to love you. I wanted to be her.

I poked your side after the show, and we both knew. My hurried exit that night left you only with a short text message and no sense that we’d ever meet again.

But you were persistent. I was scared. I flew to another country to see you on a day’s notice.

All it took were those swirling 3 days together, and we were convinced of our lifetime. This was it. This was the all-encompassing, all-consuming, all-being, almighty force.

The prospect of facing the quotidian and mundane with you was exciting. Waking up sweaty with mascara down my face and your hair in wild directions to do the laundry and pay the bills. Maybe go to the grocery store and comment on the weather. A quiet happiness that in our minds secured our security and validated our settled state.

Then the mundane makes good on its promise and brings with it the real version of the picture we envisioned, and I’m not sure it’s what we thought we knew. Laundry is just laundry and sitting in comfortable silence brings uncomfortable doubts. I sat beside you and still wondered what it would be like to be with you – even with you. I held onto my own secrets like a sacred oracle, but cursed you for keeping the smallest of yours.

Through metaphorical sky-high, impenetrable walls and literal brute force in a bar one afternoon, I pushed you away. For that, I’m sorry.

It’s frightening to me how fast everything can change. How inevitable loss is. But mostly, how much I miss you despite my bones knowing how necessary it is that I leave you. I know now that our secrets make up the patchwork of our beings and each one contributes to my love for you.

And I don’t need to merge your island with mine…it’s enough that for a little patch in time I found a home with you and breathed in. TC mark

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