I covered every inch of the camper with post-it notes. I placed little pieces of paper with my handwriting on every wall, every surface. God, I must have spent at least two hours writing down every single memory of ours that I could possibly put onto paper. I knew there would never be enough post-it notes in the world to hold all of the words I would use to describe my love for you. I knew, as I wrote our love story in cliff notes, that I would hate the ending.
Throughout our relationship I wrote you letters, made you homemade cards with little love notes inside, and made scrapbooks of our trips and memories together. When we were doing long-distance, I remember driving to see you play in a small town six hours from home. It was around Valentine’s Day, so we decided to exchange gifts that weekend. With every gift I ever gave you, I always made something by hand as well, and this particular time was no exception. I took a deck of cards and wrote ’52 reasons why I love you’, on every card; a little keepsake for you to hold close while we were apart. Writing down reasons why I adored you was as natural as breathing; I would have spent my life putting pen to paper about how much I loved you. Instead, I am overflowing with all of the words I never got to say to you. I am full of the emptiness you left me with.
I wonder if I will ever write another love letter or if it is just another one of the things that I have stopped altogether since you. I find myself on a tumultuous ride of experiencing hope one moment, but then being reminded of the broken promises and betrayal that has left me so wounded and that hope gets taken away from me. I am in a continuous game of tug-o-war between my past and my future – I am right in the middle. I find it so difficult to actually be present because my mind always takes me back to the past. And when my mind does explore the future and what I desire most in life, it’s so close I can almost feel and touch and experience all of the joy and love – but I don’t know how to get there. I find myself in a constant state of limbo; my life feels like it has a big comma in it, or rather, a giant question mark. I know that I have to reconcile with my past in order to move forward, but it requires so much from me, and most days I don’t feel like I have the strength to go up against everything that haunts me. Most days I feel too weak to fight another second; I can’t see the proverbial torch guiding my way in the darkness. I find myself flirting with giving up; with saying, “You win. I will never be able to outrun your memory.”
But then I remind myself that you didn’t deserve me; you didn’t deserve the version of me back then that cherished you more than anyone ever will. You didn’t deserve the sacrifices I made for our relationship, for you. And you sure as hell don’t deserve me now. You don’t deserve to take up any more real estate in my mind, my body, the very soul that lives within me. And so I will live to fight another day, and another day after that. Until there comes a day where my nervous system doesn’t live in a constant state of fight-or-flight, until the day comes that I see a white F-150 and my chest doesn’t tighten and get crushed by the weight of my loss. I will shed every cell in my body that you ever touched, every inch of my skin and strand of blonde hair that you put your fingers on. I won’t dream about you anymore; I won’t see our babies in my dreams and see our ring fingers adorned with the wedding bands we picked for one another. One day my dreams of you won’t be so lucid; they will be enveloped in a thick fog and I will no longer wake up thinking that it’s real – that it’s still you and me. One day, I will see that you weren’t my real soulmate, because soulmates don’t abandon, betray, and cheat. Soulmates don’t inflict severe emotional pain on the one they claim to love; they want nothing more than to protect and love and cherish. Soulmates do not make promises they never intend to keep, and they don’t break hearts for the pure sport of it.
I may be damaged by everything you put me through, but I hold onto the notion that you couldn’t have possibly been my true soulmate, because you did every single thing that my ride-or-die would never do. You broke me into a million pieces, but lucky me – the mess you left me with will become a fucking masterpiece, a total knockout that you’ve never kissed, touched, or tainted with your dirty hands and blackened heart.