It is the end.
You find yourself sitting in that parking spot that reminds you of them, or clutching a bagel from that market you went to together on a rainy morning. Silent tears roll down your face as you remember the way their touch felt on your skin just a few hours ago.
Rewind. You spent the days of those warm summer months getting to know each other on a deeper level than you ever have before. You shared your deepest fears and utmost regrets in the bed of your truck on some deserted mountain where life’s obligations felt thousands of lightyears away. You splashed around in the water at the beach like 5-year-old kids and didn’t give a damn what anyone else thought of you.
And then those months, weeks, and days begin to run out. When the sun cools down and the days grow shorter, you realize, once again, that you must go your separate ways and continue on your individual paths. At the end, you’re left with memories from the best three months of your life. After spending those days becoming one, you cannot even FATHOM trying to continue on without this person in it.
Then that goodbye comes. It comes at the end of that magical point in time, when everything was beautiful and nothing hurt. And it’s so much more than just saying a simple farewell.
It’s saying goodbye to everything your relationship used to be. This person understands you in a way you didn’t think another could. This person recognizes your flaws and understands them, knows about your deepest fears and protects you from them, and loves all of the best things about you. You know in the back of your head that it’ll never be the same, despite all of the promises you made to each other about visiting, sending letters, and staying faithful. You want to be the person with the “don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened” attitude. But it’s so hard when you remember that you’ll never get back what you used to have. The circumstances are changing, and one or both of you is leaving, and the cold hard truth is that you’ll never get those feelings back.
And the weeks that follow sting.
Every text and phone call is littered with “I miss you”s and “I can’t wait to be with you again”s and even more promises that you know neither of you can keep. The late night phone calls, the breakdowns, the desperation… it’s all there. You know that life has to go on and that you are just two lines that crossed one point simultaneously and may never cross again.
But why does it have to be that way? All of those failed long distance relationships, all of the advice you sought from your loved ones, they can’t all be right. Right?
Maybe you can be the exception.
Those texts and calls get less frequent, the effort begins to disappear. And then something you swore wouldn’t happen happens: new interests begin to take that place in your hearts that your far-removed lover once occupied.
Promising to visit seems like too much time and money now, when it was everything you wanted just a while ago. The exchange of care packages and handwritten letters stops. And you want to ask your friend from math class that has been helping you with homework to hang out without the books.
The fallout is the worst. Feelings are hurt, you say things you don’t mean, and, like Edgar Allen Poe said, all that love has been forgot, all in the hatred of a minute. The distance created spans much further than just the physical miles that separate you.
Naturally, life takes its course and you both move on.
But it’s always hard when you return to the place that fostered your romance.
You pass the restaurant you went to on your first date, when you both had butterflies and were terrified of eating sushi because you didn’t want to get seaweed stuck in your teeth.
You hear the song, that perfect song, that came on the radio while you kissed for the first time in the car and remember exactly how perfect it felt. You enter that coffee shop you went to together and remember when you tried to work on that thing but ended up giggling and sneaking kisses between sips of your latte.
That is the part we always have the most trouble moving past. The memories. You painted a picture together, and erasing it without leaving marks is rather difficult. Their presence seems to always linger in your distant memory, in the back of your mind that wishes things could have been different. Your conscious mind convinces you that it all worked out for the best, but you can’t help but wonder.
The last thing you ever wanted to do was hurt each other. The worst part is that you both knew it was inevitable.
Very rarely are we the exception. We just can’t help but wish that we always were.