I hugged him and held his face one last time as I kissed his lips. And then we each got into our separate cars. Through his window, he smiled those beautiful white teeth at me and waved as I drove away. As I looked back in the rearview mirror I realized that I would never see him again. I realized that I care about him, I will always care about him.
But I’m not in love with him like I told myself I was.
And it’s sad because my reality; our reality- is so much different than our illusion. Then the story I had been telling myself for years. The illusion read like a movie script, but as we all know rarely does life work out that way.
He and I spent more time together over our short summer rendezvous than we had ever spent in the six years of knowing each other. And as I sat across from him at sushi, after we had toasted our sake cups, I looked at him and realized I knew everything about him and nothing about him all at the same time. I realized I was looking at a stranger. I guess that is what happens when you run along the edge of each other’s lives for years, peering through the glass, but never getting the chance to go in.
Person to person interaction and one-on-one time can never be replaced by hours of texting, snapchatting, and facetiming. I learned in that moment, at dinner, that you can never really know someone until you can spend tons and tons of time with them. Until you can see them at their worst and their most vulnerable- when their car breaks down or a loved one dies, or a waiter gets their order wrong at a restaurant. Until you can serve witness to all these little moments, you are actually just two familiar strangers.
And so I started to unravel this illusion that I had been trying to act out with him.
My illusion was that he was my person. Even though we had a rough history and many instances, of him not treating me right. I was so in lust with him when we first met, that I stupidly handed him my heart, which he subsequently dropped and stomped on so many years ago. I should have walked away then, but my illusion was that time would fix all wounds. We just needed time; time to grow, time to mature, time to figure it all out.
My illusion was that the universe kept us running in and out of each other’s lives for a reason. My illusion was that someday I would return to the state where we met and live happily ever after in the mountains. I would have a log cabin overlooking a mountain vista, and my property would include a babbling brook and acres of rolling grassland for my horses.
But my reality is that we are not each other’s person. My truth is I deserve someone who is genuine and true. My reality is that I have loved him but I am not in love with him. These are two very different things. Even as I write this now, this nagging voice in the back of my head whispers, “Are you sure?” But I have to remember that I was only in love with his illusion.
My reality is that it will still sting when I see a smiling social media post, announcing to the world that he has met someone new. But I will have to remember that my reality is that we were just friends who never turned into anything more. Whose chemistry was off the charts, whose body’s always seemed to fit together just right. But you can’t have sex all the time. And when you don’t really know someone outside of the bedroom, it makes for a lot of awkward gaps.
My reality is that I am a very sensitive, emotional person who expects a lot from the few people in my inner circle. His reality is he could never meet my expectations, because the person I was setting them for was part of the illusion.
My reality is that it’s not always meant to work out the way you think it should. I am writing this essay to remind myself how I felt the day I walked away from him and flew home. I know in my heart our reality. But even as time goes on, I can feel myself wanting to run back to our illusion. But, the people in that story are not us. In our story life goes on and so will we, but separately.