The Day You Came Back Everything Changed (Including Me)

Jenny Woods
Jenny Woods

Your name appeared across my screen and I had to do a double-take. I thought ‘how long has it been?’ Knowing very well the exact answer.

In disbelief and utter shock I nervously typed away only to delete it and rewrite it and reread it.

The truth is I was scared. Scared to let you back into my life so easy. Did you deserve that free pass again? Should I have just ignored it? Could I have gone on with my life without answering? Probably.

In your absence, I began to realize just how strong I really was. In your absence, I began to realize how I never needed anyone. Even in the moments it physically hurt to be without you.

When you left you taught me the definition of hitting rock bottom and what I had to do to get back up.

Because what you didn’t see when you left was all of that.

What you didn’t see in your absence were the nights I’d stay up awake wondering what I did wrong. What you didn’t see in your absence were the mornings where I struggled to get out of bed. What you didn’t see in your absence were the tears I held back when someone brought up your name. What you didn’t hear were the slurred words as I reached for alcohol to numb the pain and a phone call I’d regret making but not remember. What you didn’t see were the friends who had to pick me up because the fall for you was so hard.

Days turned into weeks that turned into years and suddenly you weren’t the topic of conversation. Suddenly you weren’t every thought at night. Your name stopped tasting bitter if it ever rolled off my tongue. I had finally forgiven you, but I had also forgiven myself for letting someone affect me in such a way.

I made a vow to never let that happen again.

But you were still the thoughts I never spoke of – wondering how you were. You were the prayers I thought were going unanswered.

Until that day.

Your name appeared on my screen just like I always wished and prayed for. But what I came to realize wasn’t the long over due sorry that healed me, but it was me learning to heal without needing it.

So now you’re back and my friends are angry because unlike me they can’t quite forgive you that easily. They still think the worst of you while I choose to see the best.

But before you come back and decide to rock up this world I’ve built without you, just know if ever you choose to hurt me, if ever you choose to walk away, if ever you think things will be the same, you are mistaken because I changed in your absence. I become someone I wouldn’t have recognized in the mirror some time ago. I became someone who doesn’t need you. But I want you even after all this time and that’s my choice.

Please don’t make me regret that. TC mark

Kirsten Corley

Kirsten is the author of But Before You Leave, a book of poetry about the experiences we struggle to put into words.

Trace the scars life has left you. It will remind you that at one point, you fought for something. You believed.

“You are the only person who gets to decide if you are happy or not—do not put your happiness into the hands of other people. Do not make it contingent on their acceptance of you or their feelings for you. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if someone dislikes you or if someone doesn’t want to be with you. All that matters is that you are happy with the person you are becoming. All that matters is that you like yourself, that you are proud of what you are putting out into the world. You are in charge of your joy, of your worth. You get to be your own validation. Please don’t ever forget that.” — Bianca Sparacino

Excerpted from The Strength In Our Scars by Bianca Sparacino.

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Image Credit: Jenny Woods

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