Our Goodbye Made Me Stronger

I don’t know how you did it, but you did it. There I was, drowning in ten foot waves and ready to give up, and you saw me. You saw me and you wanted to save me, and you did.
I don’t know how to let you go. I have to. I don’t want to, but I have to. This isn’t personal, you said. It’s just not the right time, you said. How can it not be the right time when you saved me so effortlessly? You’re right; it’s not the right time for this. It’s too soon to let you go.

I can’t do this now. Not while I can still smell you and taste you, still make out the shape of your body in my bed, still feel the pressure of your lips on mine. Not now, while my fingers know all too well the feeling of being intertwined with yours. Not while I still know how it feels to lie next to you, with your fingers running lazy tracks across my back.

I hear you whisper in the dark that I have the softest skin and I laugh, sure that you’re just caught up in the moment and you can’t be serious. I see your face and that sleepy smile as I roll over to kiss you. I feel the curves of your body molded into mine, as though it has always been this way, as though we are pieces of the same puzzle finding their complement. I feel your hands, those large rough hands, ever so gently smoothing the flyaway pieces of hair framing my face. I think you are calming the flyaway pieces of my heart along with them, as though I’ve been floating in the wind until you grounded me.

I feel those hands exploring all of the curves and imperfections of my body, not stopping even though I cringe when you happen upon a stretch mark or an extra fold. I snuggle up to the spot in your neck where my head fits perfectly. I kiss your cheek and try to get out all of the words that I want to say to you. All of the butterflies you give me, all of the things you make me feel, all of the beauty and wonder and grace that strike me when I’m in your arms, all of those I feel so deeply and still words will never be enough.

I know that this is our last night and that tomorrow we will wake up and face the reality of goodbye. But right now, all I have to do is melt into your arms and try not to let this feeling escape me. I’m going to miss you and everything you are.

I’ll miss those arms – strong, capable, secure.
I’ll miss those eyes – deep, gentle, alive.
I’ll miss those hands – rough, tender, able.
I’ll miss that chest – hard, protective, safe.
I’ll miss your quick wit, your mind that kept up with my ramblings, your words that reached a depth in me I thought was sealed off forever.

I’ll miss that little throaty laugh you do when I’m acting completely ridiculous. I’ll miss your smile, so tender when you look at me. I’ll miss the familiar scent of black and milds and cheap beer that you leave on my pillows and my skin. I won’t forget your face when you see me after weeks apart or the way you gently handle me when I get snippy. I won’t forget how my name sounds on your lips or the way you say “um” too much when you get really into the story you’re telling.

I won’t forget how you gave me back my sense of self, how you helped me to think beyond my present and to nail down what I wanted for my future. You taught me so much without even knowing that you did. For the first time in a long time, I was forced to think of someone else’s happiness other than my own. You forced me to give up my selfishness and to stop drowning in my loneliness. You saved my heart.

And now, my memories are all I have left of you. I am keeping you here, safe, and immortalized with pen and paper, not touched by the sadness of moving on and letting go. You said you were glad it ended this way, with us both wanting each other instead of hating. I disagreed, thinking if I could just be angry, if I could just hate you, I’d at least have something I wanted to give up. But I don’t. All I have to give up is you, and our happy memories, and our unfulfilled plans. Instead of bitterness and hate, all I have are the trails your fingers traced on my bare shoulders and the chapped lips from kissing you to avoid goodbye.

You’re gone from my bed but not from my heart. Maybe we weren’t meant to be anything more than we were. Maybe those six months of perfect were what I needed in order to believe in love and myself again. If nothing else, I will always have what you left me: the realization that I can be open, vulnerable, and that I can let myself be seen. You took away all of the things I was afraid of and strengthened me. And what else could I ask for? You saved me. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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