I didn’t think that I’d still be thinking of you. By now, I expected you to be a distant memory, a name long forgotten, a meaningless word among other meaningless words. What I didn’t expect was how long you would stay, which it turns out, is twice as long as the amount of time that we even spent together.
It seems that on a daily basis I have someone telling me that the best things in life happen when you least expect them. Well I expected nothing from you and got everything that I didn’t even know I wanted. There was no defining moment for me. I dove in on a Friday, got lost in your endless patience, your subtle charms, your quiet grace, and when I came up for air that Monday, I knew. I threw out all of the plans that I had made for myself because you were a game changer. You were going to be my good thing.
It was short — we were short — but for me, it was beyond surreal. I could spend years searching for the perfect words to describe how it felt to be with someone like you, but it’s in the past and I suppose that it doesn’t really matter anymore (though I’ll probably never end my search for those beautiful words). What does matter is that when I realized that our seeing less and less of each other meant that our fling could possibly be coming to an end, I didn’t let it fizzle quietly. Instead, I asked you straight out what was happening.
You said that you were in a transitioning period. I knew that. You needed some you time. Understandable. But were you still interested?
There is no sound quite as deafening as the silence between text messages. I knew that communication wasn’t your forte but the agony of waiting for a response was unbearable. So like a multiple choice quiz, I gave you options and let you choose the answer that you thought best described how you were feeling. You confirmed that A) It was fun for a while but now you had too much on your plate, and B) I was a great girl but it just wasn’t going to work out. However, you assured me that you were definitely not thinking C) I was actually not that great and that I should just disappear.
The devastation — that is the only word to describe it — that I felt was soul-crushing, earth-shattering, and at the time, it felt life-ending. But I played it off as best I could because I was sure that there was nothing more pathetic than someone who begs for another person to stay when all they want to do is go.
As it turns out, your departure was the perfect catalyst for my quarter-life crisis. In the following weeks, the hard truths that I was forced to face about myself were only trumped by the questions I had about what had gone sour between us. I questioned my sanity: Was there ever any interest? Did I imagine that spark? Were those shared moments of intimacy actually just fabrications of the mind? Had it all been an elaborate lie but I was just too wrapped up in romantic ideology to see through it? After replaying all of our moments together, I felt certain that our connection had been real, and in my twisted mind, that left only one other option: the problem had been me.
Every day I dreamed up a new possibility for why your interest faded: I was too forward, I showed too much interest, I wasn’t confident enough, I was too needy. I agonized over all of the things that I could have done wrong, what thoughts I should have held back, what words I should have said instead. I projected all of my doubts about myself onto you while ignoring the high probability that, perhaps, we simply wanted different things.
These days I know well enough that if a guy dreams of living out the rest his days on a snow-covered European mountain, then it’s probably just not meant to be. But with you, it’s the uncertainty of why things ended that still drives me crazy, that still keeps you on my mind. I’ll never know how much of what you said was fact or fiction because you really didn’t say much at all. Were you relieved that I had been able to sense what your sudden absence meant, or were you just trying to preserve my feelings because the real reason for why you didn’t want to stick around was much harsher than the options I had provided?
Either way, I regret speaking for you and making your exit easy. As difficult as it would have been for you to vocalize what you were feeling, I should have dragged it out of you, should have fought tooth and nail to get you to say whatever was on your mind. I should have asked you in person so that there could be no premeditation, just an honest answer as to why you, my ideal guy, didn’t want to be with me. And had your answer actually turned out to be the same as A, B, or the bitter option C, at least I’d know for certain that it was the truth. Now we’re not at a place where I could ask you again. And even if we were, with all that I’ve already put on the table, I don’t know that I would try.
Maybe for you our fling is no longer worth mentioning. Maybe I am just a blip in your memory. For me, our dissolution left a greater impact than I could have anticipated. Since then I have hated you, erased you, and tried to replace you. Any success was short-lived. You are there when Cruise plays through my head phones, when someone so much as mentions San Francisco, when I drink a good beer, when I water the fucking plants. It would be much easier to count the moments when I am not thinking of you.
If by some twist of fate we were to ever cross paths in a bar, or on the train, I don’t know that I could get past the overpowering feeling of gut-wrenching nausea to say any words to you. But know that it wouldn’t be for a lack of anything to say, because until the next great guy comes along and breaks my heart, you will probably still be on my mind.