I was prepared for this.
I knew from the beginning I had to say goodbye to you.
I had already perfected the art of being independent and emotionally unavailable. Even before I left my country to travel, I long ago carved myself into the heart-in-a-cage, complete-on-my-own, stand-on-my-own-damn-feet kind of girl. Always detached. Always built for solitude. Even before I wasn’t allowed to become attached, I didn’t want to be.
I knew what travel was about. How I would have magical but short-lived experiences, and fall deeply in love and aw with places I would have to leave. This kind of life seemed to suit me. Seemed to reflect me.
I met you. At first we were both cautious, and then we were us. I adored you so, and you gave me the gentlest and sweetest kind of love I could have hoped for. You were so completely different from what I’ve known. Boy, I’ve never loved one like you.
We decided the first night we kissed that this wouldn’t be anything more. You flew home in a month and I would keep traveling.
At first I was perfectly happy with this. I didn’t want more from you. I agreed. All I wanted was to enjoy the limited time I had with you and not think about the future. I felt so free and high on the feeling of loving without expectation. We were fun. We had our adventures. We had our music. We had our nights.
But without meaning to, I slipped.
You didn’t let yourself want it. ‘Long distance doesn’t work’ you said.
And I know you almost loved me, however brief. We had something real. How I wish you didn’t shut down. How I wish you were as open as I was then, as dangerous and foolish that was for me.
Here I am. Still detached. Still built for solitude. But God, I miss you.
And now every night I crawl inside your memory for warmth, as if it were the carcass of a dead horse, but it’s rotting and you are fading away from me.
I wasn’t prepared for this.
I guess I’m still learning.