Happy Valentine’s Day To The One Who Got Away

I told myself I wouldn’t think about you today, but as soon as you say that, you know the battle is already lost. I knew that I would spend my whole day imagining what you were doing, remembering what we had, and hoping — despite my better judgment — that you were also thinking of me.

It’s been a long time since I last saw you, since we erased each other from social media (you erased me, but let’s not get into semantics). I live so far away from the city where I knew you, and from what I heard from a friend of a friend, you do, too. Maybe, like me, you needed to get away from where everything happened. You needed to get away from everything that hurts so badly, like a wound you can’t stop opening just to torture yourself.

Our love story has always struck me as the kind that leaves the worst scars. We met, we hit it off, and you wanted to be with me. You played no games, wanted no distractions, offered your life and your time to me in every way a person could. And I got scared, maybe, or I lost interest in you because you were suddenly so available. Either way, I left. I broke your heart, I rejected you, I said no. You deleted me from your life completely, wouldn’t even tolerate hearing my name spoken amongst friends. You needed to wash me out of your mouth like a bad aftertaste.

And, as often happens, I realized that I was wrong just a few weeks too late to do anything about it. Suddenly my life had a gaping hole in it, something that I imagined was just the weather or my own fluctuating mental health, until I realized that it was you. I realized that you were wonderful, and so kind, and filled my life with a kind of hopeful stability that I’d never had — and I pushed you away. I had lost you, you refused to return my calls, and it was over.

I tortured myself over you. I called myself every name I’d never let someone call a friend. I made sure that I never went to sleep without rubbing my own face in the mistake I had made by letting you go. I couldn’t just fall in love, as people do, I had to make it difficult and painful and full of complications that I love to mistake for spark. And you weren’t interested in playing my childish games, because you were an adult. You wanted something real, and I couldn’t give it to you.

So happy Valentine’s Day, and I hope the day is real for you. I hope you have someone to spend it with you who loves you, who cares about you, and who doesn’t have some allergic reaction to things going well like I do. I hope she is smart and funny and has a smile that never lets you forget how much she thinks of you. I want you to look forward to this day, not hide from it and pretend like it isn’t coming the way I have to. You deserve to celebrate this holiday in all of the joyful cheesiness that it demands, not have to worry about where someone else is on the other side of the country, and whether or not they are losing sleep over you.

Because you are a better person than I am. You are smarter, and stronger, and far more compassionate. And this holiday is one for lovers, one for people who take care of each other, one for people who love to be together. And you deserve those things where I have not yet earned them. I hope one day to be like you, to be as good and as thoughtful and to treat other people like you do, because one day I would like to enjoy this holiday. One day I would like to be in love. TC mark

image – Vinoth Chandhar

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