You were my first big love. The love that I never saw coming. The person that all at once changed my life for forever. You were the person that I never expected, but when you walked into my life — I would never be the same again.
You were the first person I loved more than myself. And at seventeen, that’s an incredibly overwhelming feeling. All I saw when I closed my eyes was your face. All I felt when I fell asleep were your arms around me. All I ever wanted was to hear you talk, taste your lips, kiss your skin and see all of you. All I wanted was you and only you.
You were the first earthquake. The first rainstorm in the summer that had be dancing for three years. You were the thing that shook my foundation. You were the storm that flooded me with every kind of magic I never knew existed. You were the thunder that had me come alive.
You made me come alive.
But of course, storms have to end. Our rainstorm wasn’t supposed to last forever. It was too powerful for the two of us to control. It was too big. Too loud. Too bright to survive. We were too in sync, it was almost too much to bear at times. The way we were entangled. The way we were entranced by one another. The way your eyes made me spark. The way my touch sent you singing and stinging all at once.
And when our time ran out, when our hearts broke into all those shattered pieces, I didn’t know how I was. I didn’t know who I could be, without you by my side. Without your voice and your eyes and your hands. I didn’t know if I belonged anywhere else that wasn’t in your arms.
But I had to survive. I had to learn how to breathe the air that wasn’t full of your oxygen. I had to learn how to walk without your hand leading the way. I had to learn how to smile without your grin pulling me forward. I had to learn how to be. How to go. Without your love.
I had to re-learn how to be a person. I had to re-learn how to love myself when you weren’t the one loving me too. I had to re-learn who I was, without you.
I took more than a few weeks. It took more than a few months. It took more than a couple years. But in time, I did it. In time, I learned how to walk without your crutches. I learned how to breathe without your inhalers and pills. I learned how to smile, without having your aura all around me.
It’s true. I learned how to say goodbye to you. I never thought that I could do it, you know. I never thought I had that kind of strength inside me. Because for so long, you were that strength. You were my home. You were my foundation and the bricks that built my walls.
For so long, you were the one that built me.
But your leaving taught me how to build the windows and slap on the bricks. Your leaving, as terrible and heart wrenching as it was, saved me. It saved me from a life where I didn’t know who I could be without you. It saved me from living life as only part of a whole. It saved me from living a life that was only filled of you.
It took a long time. And to be honest, I still have a love affair with our story. With our big, scary and intoxicating love. But, your goodbye taught me so much more about me than our love did. Your goodbye taught me that I am strong. That I can prevail. That I can fight. By myself.
Your leaving was the thing that taught me how to truly live.