I knew you were going to leave from the moment I met you. Our first conversation was so unlike the norm. We skipped through the polite introductions and talked for hours about our secrets, each revelation a little glimpse into our souls that we would only be comfortable telling a complete stranger.
For you, I was a way to pass the time, but for me, you were an investment of my time. You didn’t care about me; I pretended not to care about you. Despite the “cool girl” act, I hopelessly loved every piece of you immediately, but I knew you were going to leave from the moment I met you.
I opened up to you before I could even call you a friend. I told you about my inner struggles, the daily battles I faced that I was too ashamed to admit to those I had been friends with for years. You listened patiently, pseudo-worry spread across your face, cautiously offering a shoulder to cry on. I never took you up on that shoulder, for fear that appearing vulnerable would make me lose you, although I never really had you to lose. Despite knowing my place in your life was ephemeral, I opened up to you completely, unadulteratedly, without even being able to call you a friend.
I hoped for a future with you despite knowing it would never happen. Every late night phone call gave me hope that one day you would realize I was the one you needed to spend forever with. Every kiss, every touch, every special moment gave me hope that you were just guarding your heart and soon you would be all mine. Every “goodnight” gave promise to a “good morning” and every “good morning” provided a chance at a day spent together. To you, I was just someone to keep your bed warm before you moved on. Yet still, I craved a future with you in the face of knowing it would never happen.
Eventually, you left, as I knew you would, and I remained, hoping, wishing, waiting for you to return and realize I had been there for you the whole time. We both left for school in the fall, relishing our new lives and our newfound freedom away from the confines of our hometowns. You promised you would always be there for me, but the distance was just far enough that you could slip away without guilt or fault. There was nothing I could do to stop you except feel the emptiness wash over me as you faded to just a mere memory of what we had. You left, and I remained.
When you left, I thought I was my fault, that I wasn’t good enough, that I pushed you away with my problems. In some ways, I take responsibility for how much I let you hurt me. I expected more from you than you had to give. I swore I could change you, make you want me, make you realize how much love I had to give. Instead you played on my emotions, which I surrendered over to you so willingly, and used them to make yourself stronger and avoid your own past issues.
Soon enough I started seeing testaments to you and her everywhere. There were pictures of you two celebrating Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, all the events we had celebrated ourselves just last year. You looked the same—smug grin present, hand lingering too low on her hip, the glimmer in your eyes that seemed to hint at maybe your intentions weren’t completely pure. She was stunning, more so than I could ever have imagined. Her long brown hair and prominent features reminded me faintly of the image I see in the mirror each morning—I guess you have a type.
What broke my heart the most was not that you had moved on but rather that I could see just from these pictures that she loved you in the same way I did. Your confidence, your charm, the way you care just enough to keep us around before moving on to your next target took another victim, another girl who fell into your cycle of gaining love and throwing it away. I’m still unsure of how I fell in love with someone I didn’t even have to love but the worst part is knowing you did the same thing to that poor girl, who hadn’t realized your flair for leaving when your feelings caught up with you.
I knew you were going to leave from the moment I met you. And now you have, yet I still sit here, in the college sweatshirt you gave me, drinking coffee from the mug we stole from that little bayside diner down the shore, listening to the Jason Aldean song we sung all summer that now makes me cry, clinging to the faintest hope that one day you’ll return and we’ll get our happily ever after.
Instead of trying to move on, I set myself back by drinking too much coffee, not getting enough sleep and looking to other men to fill the void you left. In the light of day, I preach the importance of self-love to others yet go home to my lonely one-bedroom each night and pray for you to choose me. I know I shouldn’t want you after you left and almost destroyed me, but I can’t help it. I still hope you come back into my life just as naturally as you did the first time we met and we share in a future as bright as the sunsets we watched every evening during our summer together in the mountains.
Until that day, I’ll wait for you and try to convince myself you won’t leave again.