You knew this was going to be hard, but you didn’t know it would be this hard. Now that they are right in front of you, for the last time, you feel a kind of sadness that you’ve never experienced before. You feel hollow, and weak, like you can’t trust yourself to keep standing. You can’t bear the thought that after this moment they will become a stranger, another passerby, just a memory. You feel an emptiness that you know will stay with you long after this goodbye.
As you stand there with them, all of the memories rush up inside of you and get caught in your chest. All of the love you shared sends electric currents through your skin. All you want to do is hold onto this moment forever. You want to pause time while they are still them, and you are still you. You wish the world could stand still while the two of you are still intertwined, while the two of you still share a world, while together, you still create magic.
More than anything you wish you could pretend that everything is okay. You wish you could reach for their hand, to reassure them that nothing is wrong. That you will get through this like you always do.You wish you could hide from the inevitable truth that everything you thought you knew is falling apart.
But you can only trick yourself for so long. The tears rushing down your cheeks are harsh reminders that this is really happening. Mascara runs in fine lines down your face, and you struggle just to catch your breath. You can’t seem to calm down, no matter how calm they look, because you know with certainty that this will be an immeasurable loss.
Despite the tears, you don’t want to go. You don’t want to lift your hand off of their forearm. You don’t want to let go of him. But you know you have to leave at some point tonight. You know, deep down, that staying won’t make it any better.
So you take a mental snapshot of their face. You try to burn their voice into your brain, so you never forget it. You hug them more tightly than you’ve ever hugged them before, hoping that you will be able to remember what it feels like to be cradled in their safe arms. You feel the warmth of their body and wish you could stay in this embrace forever. You look into their eyes and you pray that they won’t forget this beautiful universe the two of you created.
It takes every ounce of courage within you to pull back, away from their warm body, away from their familiar shape. And as you pull away, you try to think of something meaningful to say, something that could sum up the feelings of your heart breaking. But you can’t think of words that could come close to sharing how special they were to you. You can’t put into words how painful it will be to lose them.
So instead, you look at them one last time, push your hair off of your tear-stained face, and then silently turn away.
You sit in your car, wondering if perhaps you could have done something differently. Maybe if you had just said the right words, they would have stayed. Maybe if you had loved them a little bit differently, they would still be your person. Maybe if you had just been better, this could have been your one true love story.
But you know that words wouldn’t have changed this. You know that there was nothing you could have done to have made this last. You know this was probably fate all along.
Beneath the crippling hurt, you remind yourself that an infinity of love stories still exists in this universe. You remind yourself that it won’t feel this hard forever. You remind yourself that this pain does not mean that this ending was a mistake. And you realize that for a reason you do not know of quite yet, the stars simply didn’t aline for this love. The constellations weren’t in your favor. This love was never supposed to be your happy ending.
Looking up through your windshield at night sky you see the bright full moon casting light down on you. You see that even in your sadness, the sky is still gorgeous. And somehow, this reassures you that you are going to be okay. Knowing that beauty still exists, and seeing the glow of the moonlight on your body, makes you feel safe.
And though this love has ended it was still a privilege for you to love them. It was still a gift to share a corner of the world with them. And no matter what comes next, you realize that you will always be thankful for this love and for the warmth it brought you. You will always be thankful for this little infinity.