Time is a funny thing. It has this way of wearing down memories until they are like the soft edges of an old photograph — I can still see us on that cloudy gray morning, laughing at nothing at all, but the image no longer cuts into me the way it once did. I remember the day you left, the apology in the way you brushed my hand and a goodbye in the look in your eyes.
But I also I remember the day we met. Our first kiss. I remember summer nights of driving aimlessly down empty roads, and the stars that shone so far above us. I remember days of crisp autumn air and the letters you wrote me in handwriting that was as crooked as your smile. I remember staying up far too late talking to you, and I would whisper into the phone from beneath my bed covers like the teenager I was.
It’s easy, you know, to write this off as some teenage love story that doesn’t have a happy ending. After all, not many love stories do. But you used to say my name like it was something holy, and I fell for you far too fast and far too hard. You promised me forever, once, and I wish I could have told you then that forever wasn’t yours to give, but I took it anyway because God, I wanted forever. I wanted you and I and that white picket fence, I wanted that small piece of a happily ever after.
But life isn’t a fairy tale and the story moves on, and when you left I cried for three days straight and then I went out and kissed the first boy I saw. Okay, that was a lie. I actually went out and ate chocolate lava cake, and then I watched two romcoms in a row with the lights out and a box of tissues by my bed.
But today, for the first time in a long time, I woke up without your name on my lips. And I got up and got dressed, and I didn’t think of you, and everybody says it takes time but I didn’t really believe them until now. The words it gets better has very little meaning when it can’t possibly get worse. And so, instead of writing shitty poetry about your eyes or metaphors with your smile, I looked in the mirror and said,get over yourself, and went for a run.
But here I am again, writing about you. Sometimes I think that’s all I ever write about. But today I woke up without your name on my lips, and that was something, at least. And I still remember the first time we met and I still remember the first time we kissed, but I can no longer see the precise shade of your eyes or capture the sound of your laugh.
I don’t know if that’s better or worse. All I know now is that time, like all things, keeps moving forward, whether you want it to or not, and like this we move with it.