I saw you for the first time since you broke up with me.
It was at a music festival. Memorial Day weekend. The crowds of people were so huge they could swallow you up if you didn’t pay attention. I went with your roommate because we all went last year and I wanted to keep half of the tradition going.
You crept up towards us, a beer can in your hand. No surprise. I had one too. I had to find some way to cope with you being around me again, but it was already empty. You waved hello to me and continued talking to our friend. The music wasn’t loud enough to drown out my thoughts, ones I’ve kept to myself for the past 8 months. Ones that still keep me up at night as I toss and turn in bed knowing yours no longer had an empty space. Or so I thought.
I heard you and your girlfriend broke up. The same one you were talking to when you were still with me. I won’t lie, a part of me was glad it happened. At least you know how it feels to not have something work out the way you thought it would. I wanted to ask you what caused it. I bet you had the same lame excuse you gave to me. Did you practice it in the mirror before you released the venom from your tongue? You always said you couldn’t commit.
You looked a lot taller than the last time I saw you, but maybe that’s because I finally got to see how small I felt around you. You bought new sunglasses; I liked your simple black ones, the ones you’d wear in the summertime and put on your face before you left for work in the morning. Now you just looked like a show off. So why did I want to take them off to see your brown-speckled eyes?
The three of us went over to see another performance. The sun was starting to set and the cold winds were giving me goosebumps all over my arms. Even though you weren’t too far away from me, I wanted you closer. Because I missed the times you’d wrap your arms around my waist and lift me in the air to be the tallest in the crowd. I’d go beet red and yell at you to let me down, but you’d only pull me in closer as your way of forgiveness. I always forgave you.
You started bringing up our inside jokes we used to share, and when I saw you laugh at me for getting excited about the next song coming on I almost melted on the spot. Your smile reminded me of the first time I saw it, when you waited outside the cafe on our first date. The one I was 45 minutes late to. You never let me live it down. I wonder if you still talk about it to your friends and family.
I could barely count the amount of people around us, but I knew there was a lot. Yet you were the only person I could see clearly. You bought me a drink and it tasted gross—you were never good at suggesting drinks. I still drank it because it was from you and the alcohol felt good running down my throat. You carried out two drinks for yourself as one spilled on your shorts. Alcohol abuse—I still use that term around my friends. I smile at the times you’d always say it.
We went into the arena where there was music playing and less people and we sat near each other on the creaky stadium seats, and it felt like all the times we’d sit on your couch in your apartment, watching shows on Netflix with a takeout bag on the coffee table. You talked to me like I wasn’t someone from your past. Like a long lost person who you can pick up a conversation where you last left off. I wanted to brush my fingers through your hair. It was a lot shorter the last time I saw it. I wonder if you still use the same aftershave, the one I could smell every time you kissed me in the morning before you left for work. I stole your shirt just so I could have that scent with me. I ripped apart the two shirts I had of yours—it felt good.
You left your friend and I for the rest of the time to go be with your ex. I wish I could’ve been a fly on the wall in that conversation. Did you still have feelings for her? I wondered if you told her you loved her too. I know I was your first. You were mine too.
I tried so hard to have a good time when you left us, but all I could think about was how I missed you. How unfair it was for you to just show up and expect me to just be alright with it. You don’t even know the hell I went through these past 8 months. But you don’t deserve to know about it.
We found you later on the train back to our friend’s place. You were staying over there that night too. You vomited on the train—so much for handling your liquor. I laughed at you and went on about how you never helped me when I was throwing up. You argued with me and said you tried, but that’s not what I told your brother. We ended our conversation after that. I’m sorry I hurt you for kissing him, but I’m not sorry for doing it. Now you know how it feels to be hurt by someone.
When we got back to our friend’s place, all I remember is being introduced to vodka and coke multiple times. You told me to drink water and when I refused, you brought me a glass anyway. I vomited twice that night; you didn’t help either. But why would you now? You’re no longer in my life.
We passed out after that, and the next morning felt like we were back to being strangers. Hungover conversations and regrets from drunken thoughts spewed out from the night before. You brought us to the train station and we said our goodbyes.
A part of me wishes I never see you again, because the pain of getting over you still lingers and was only made worse when I saw you. But there’s another part of me that still holds onto the idea that we could be friends one day. Is that what you want too?
And if we’re only meant to be two people who were once together but didn’t work out, I hope you know how much you hurt me.
But I forgive you, because I found my way back to being happy. And you met him that same day that I saw you for the first time since you broke up with me.