For so long it almost felt like a familiar ghost was haunting me. One I couldn’t seem to let go of. One that was a part of every big moment in my past, in every picture. He was everything I regretted. Everything I blamed myself for. Every memory I replayed in my head wondering why he left. I realized, fixating upon the past wasn’t going to change my future. But everywhere I went I saw him.
In the pieces of myself, I saw him there too. There are some people who touch you so deeply even when they exit their life they are in everything you take with you when you try and move on. They are in every part of you, you can’t seem to get rid of. There are some people whose impact is a direct reflection of the person you turn out to be.
He was no exception to that.
Over time even I got used to leading a life without him. People stopped asking. People stopped wondering. It’s hard to explain something you struggle to understand yourself. And in the years we didn’t play a major role in each other’s lives, that lack of closure and that lack of understanding left me with an unexplainable void I couldn’t find words for.
“You’re so much better without him,” I’d hear on repeat. And it’s nice to hear but not when you don’t believe it.
Because what if there are some people you aren’t better off without.
And every year there were certain dates he completely robbed me of. Left only to think of him throughout the day.
Every year I sent another birthday card hoping maybe he’d answer.
Sometimes I wonder if healing was easier because we removed each other from social media. Erasing every part of our past like it didn’t happen at all. But there is a heartbreak to that too.
There’s heartbreak to remembering how good things were. Remembering how easily you fit into each other’s lives. A time when I didn’t have to tell him when I’d come over I’d just walk through a door that was open and his family embraced me like I was their own.
Even when it’s your past you replay in your mind, when enough time has passed it almost feels like it was someone else’s life you were leading.
And just when I was on my two feet again in a new city, with new friends it happened.
It started with a follow. Then a message. Then meeting up for lunch.
When you haven’t seen someone in years you don’t know what to expect. Hundreds of questions ran through my mind. My room looked like a bomb went off changing outfits and doing double takes.
But even your best outfit. Your best hair day. Your best makeup job doesn’t leave you confident when it’s the one person who broke your heart the worst.
And there I was standing 10 minutes early waiting.
He approached and even though five years had passed since we last saw each other, there was a comfort and familiarity to one another. A simple embrace that felt like it was everything I had been missing. The conversation that didn’t seem forced or awkward. And all I kept wondering is how after all this time are we here having lunch.
Here was the one person I thought hurt me more than anyone only this time it didn’t hurt.
I expected to say so much to be angry to demand answers but instead I just listened because the truth was it didn’t matter what happened years ago, the only thing that mattered was right now in this moment.
Sometimes when you want something that badly and you don’t get it, you think it’s never going to happen for you. Then it does and it’s not what you thought it would be, it’s so much more.
I knew to be wary of old flames. I knew to be skeptical of people from the past that hurt me. But there was something about him I trusted. And as we parted ways and he said he’d see me again I knew he actually meant it.
What I learned sometimes people need to grow a part before they have any chance of growing back together. Sometimes it’s only after you truly lose someone do you understand their value. And if you’re lucky, if you’re really lucky you find your way back to each other again.