You used the past tense. I keep reminding myself of that. On our last day you took me into your arms, and you said to me, “You were the best thing that ever happened to me.”
I wanted to fall in love for as long as I can remember. I longed to be loved irrevocably, to be someone’s someone, to feel like I wasn’t alone anymore. I suppose that I thought it would begin with sparks, a lightbulb moment, something sudden and halting. Something would knock my world off-kilter. But that’s not how it happened when I fell in love with you. No, I fell in love with you slowly. It was a series of moments and memories so seemingly insignificant, I could never have known what was happening to me. But it happened. I fell in love with you.
It was terrifying, but never had anything in my life felt so natural. You brought me to life, like a long-exposure lightning strike straight to the very core of me. I guess that’s why it felt like I was left irreversibly numb when you weren’t mine to love anymore. No, numb isn’t the right word. Is there a word that describes feeling like a giant hole has been ripped through you while also feeling like you’re made of stone?
I could’ve watched you for hours; I loved to watch you move. I loved your hands; how they felt when you put them on the side of my face to kiss me, or when you’d reach for mine on the street. I loved your arms; how they felt when you’d pull me into them from across the sheets, or when you’d casually wrap one around my waist in a bar. I loved your laugh; it was like pops of color in gray, and it was the best sound I had ever heard. I loved your lips; how they would break into a large grin when you had a trick up your sleeve, or how they would kiss my shoulder while I was asleep, gentle but firm enough to let me know you were there.
I wrote you a letter once. I listed all the reasons I loved you. Every single one of them was true. There are so many more things that I loved about you, so many that I can’t tell you about now. I signed that letter “All my love, always”. Did I ever tell you that was how my grandparents signed all their letters? Did I ever tell you that I was saving those words, holding onto them for the person who was going to love me always? I gave them to you because I thought you were my person. You were my favorite, after all.
But you used the past tense.
I was the best thing that ever happened to you. You meant it when you said it. I think that is what hurts the most about that short, sweet statement. You didn’t try to fight for me, to fight for us.
That was the moment I knew it was our last day. I was already in your past when I watched you pull out of my driveway, taking my future with you.