It hits me at the most random of times. I’ll be listening to a song, or running on the treadmill, or reaching across the center console of my car for a mint, or bumping into a stranger in the bar and I’m somehow reminded of him.
You know what I mean—we all have one, don’t we? The man we’ll never admit still crosses our mins. The man we promised ourselves days, months, years ago that we’d tuck away in a little box in the back of our closets to collect dust. The man whom we swear we don’t still miss when we are awake with our thoughts, far past our bedtimes.
The man, whom after all this time, still haunts our memories.
Sometimes I wonder if I’m the only one that feels it—the unconscious, unexplainable pull to a man I used to love. I wonder if I’m weak because I can’t get him out of my head. Yet, I wonder if I’m strong for only allowing him to be a memory, a fragment of love still lingering in my brain.
I wonder if this is the way it’ll always be after you love someone. They get to follow you, even after they’re gone.
But when he finds his way into my head, I always let him in. I open the doors and leaf back through our memories. I say, why not? and show him the pieces of me, even the ones he hasn’t touched.
When he finds his way into my head, I wonder if where we are is where we should be. I wonder if this was how it was supposed to play out—that we were doomed from the start, that we were never going to make it, no matter how hard we tried.
Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever accept that he’s no longer here, or if I should.
When he creeps his way back into my head, I can’t help but wonder if he’s happy. If he’s living his life with purpose and the least amount of pain. I wonder if he thinks about me and wonders these things at all, or if he’s much better at knowing when and how to let things go.
I’ve always believed that the people we love live on in us—alive or deceased, together or apart—they belong to us, to our hearts, to our memories.
So when he comes back to me, I let my mind run wild.
I wonder about his life, his accomplishments, his little quirks that always made me smile. I wonder about his new women, his new dreams, his new home so very far from the one we had started to share.
I wonder if he’s happy, happy without me.
And then I change the song on the radio, pick up speed on the treadmill, pop a mint in my mouth, smile at a stranger, and let him go all over again.