All movies, love songs and poetry I had seen and heard before had a new, fresher meaning. I finally got it, all of it. And I was happy.
I walked taller, well– most of the time floated, and smiled uncontrollably. I was with this guy who adored me and I deserved every inch of that contentment.
There are rows and rows of warning signs that I see clearly now. But at the time I didn’t see anything wrong with not thinking or talking about the future. We were living our lives and enjoying one another.
Change happened though…gradually of course. So slowly in fact that it took me months to realize what was going on and I didn’t accept it fully till I was even farther away from the end of the relationship.
I started feeling a quiet distance forming with each date and weekend we spent together. A routine that turned into a slow dance that both of us tiptoed into. Nothing thrown off balance and nothing changing.
But slowly, I became less of a priority, less of a concern whether I was with him or not. He would be there with me, and yet I felt the kisses and refills of morning coffee were more a polite gesture then something he wanted. I felt like work, an obligation that he quietly got through. His energy dropped, his eyes sparkled less and we became two bodies that remained close but were miles apart. I didn’t understand what was happening and I didn’t know the words to explain it.
For weeks, as I took the train back to my apartment after spending another weekend with him, tears would stream down my face and I didn’t know why. An empty pit in my stomach began to grow but I still didn’t know what it meant. He had been driving the relationship for so long at that point, I didn’t realize that he had stopped looking where we were going.
I wasn’t the girl I used to be anymore. I didn’t know what it felt like to not have him two inches behind me or what it felt like to not float and have sparkling eyes. I knew what it felt like to feel alone when you’re sitting on the same couch as your boyfriend. I knew what it felt like to feel not loved on Valentines Day. I knew what it felt like to watch someone disappear right in front of your eyes. I knew what it felt like to be more consumed with this person disappearing then yourself.
And now months later, while I’m still learning to wake up in the morning and be okay with standing up on my own, sometimes I still look beside me and want him there.
I’ll want his hand reaching for mine or rubbing the small of my back. I’ll want his twinkling eyes to smile back at me or his fingers running through my hair. I’ll want him whispering sweet words in my ear, the just because flowers, or the coffee just the way I like it.
And then, like forcing myself to remember a bad dream, I’ll remember the space I felt between us in bed. Two bodies lying side by side, backs turned to each other and feeling the emptiness inside of me swell. I’ll remember him kissing me hello later and not first. I’ll remember finally asking him for answers but only getting sad eyes and defeatist shrugs in return. Him telling me that I deserve better and he’s lost and is only dragging me down. Even with those words, I didn’t understand what he was doing to me. He was letting me go because he didn’t know how to hang on anymore without pushing me away.
I’ll remember seeing the glazed over, tired look that took up his face as he apologized for only wanting to sit on the couch all weekend again. I’ll remember him simply saying that that was how he wants his life to be and me not knowing how to say ‘Well what about me?’
I’ll remember my heart not really breaking until months after we ended things because there was still a part of me that thought he’d come back.
I’ll always love the guy who dipped me in the rain and told me I amaze him everyday. I’ll love the guy who cooked for me and made my bed while I was in the shower. I’ll love the guy who let me open up and be a part of a we for a shining, twinkling moment.
I’ll always hate the guy who opened me up, but filled me with nothing. I’ll hate the guy who never said I love you. I’ll hate the guy who didn’t fight for me to be in his life. I’ll hate the guy who took too long to say ‘You deserve better’. I’ll hate the guy who turned into someone else who I couldn’t love.
And of course, there’s a part of me that will always love the woman I got to be when I was with him. And there’s a part of me that will always hate that woman for letting go of who I was to be with him.