As my pen drifts over this page, as I press the ink to paper, I am reminded of all the ways we used to love. How your touch clouded and cleared my mind. How in your eyes and arms, I felt both lost and found. How I wrote poetry in my mind, every time we kissed.
How I can still hear you whisper, ‘I love you,’ when I close my eyes.
When you love someone, you aren’t supposed to drift. You’re supposed to fight and push and cry and withstand the tests of time and fate. You’re not supposed to slowly break apart, like a vase falling in slow motion, shards of glass meeting the floor, calm and rhythmic like rain. You’re not supposed to watch the other person walk away, their silhouette melting into the sunset, and both of your hands still warm from one another’s touch.
I wasn’t supposed to watch you leave; you weren’t supposed to let me go.
We weren’t supposed to end like this – universes apart, slowly orbiting our own suns, wishing for warmth elsewhere. Wondering why and how and what the hell went wrong.
In the months after we fell apart, I wrote poetry in the darkness. I was awake before the sun rose, counting the stars, still bright in the Midwest sky. I was wishing to somehow make sense of what happened – to make you realize all the ways you were wrong – I’ve always been stubborn, turning my heartbreak into something tangible. Something I could hold between my fingertips and give to you, blame on you, because I still wasn’t ready to admit I’d always been the one with flighty feet.
I’d write poems until my fingers ached. Until my heart felt a little less heavy. Until my eyes were swollen and strained in that shadowy desk light. Until I felt like I had bled enough of myself onto the page. Until I could forget, for a few hours, how hard it was to exist without you.
But if I’m being honest, I didn’t want to forget.
I still don’t.
I don’t want to forget the softness of your lips on my cheek. I don’t want to forget your hands on the small of my back. I don’t want to forget the nights we stayed up late, counting cracks in the ceiling and talking about our parents – how much we loved them, but how much we wanted to be different – how much we wanted to understand what love really was.
I don’t want to forget all the ways you made me feel – free, strong, frustrated, confident, smart, young, bold, beautiful – I don’t want to forget all the ways you made me feel.
And so, here I am again – pen resting over page, thoughts running wild in my head.
Here I am, ready to give you my heart and all its stubbornness on a piece of parchment, on a typed document, on a screen. I want you to know that no matter what amount of hours, days, months, years have passed between the last time we looked into each other’s eyes, my heart will never stop beating at the mention of your name. A smile will never stop creeping across my face at the pictures of us.
I’ll never stop writing poems about the man I loved with all my heart.
So on this page, I’ll write our love to life. I’ll write about the time we ran down the street like children, arm in arm. I’ll write about the time you came over when it was late and I was buried in a story, and you rested your head on my shoulder and watched my eyes scan the page. I’ll write about the time my stubbornness almost lost you, but you, just as hard-headed, decided let your guard down.
I’ll write about the muscles in your back, the softness of your chest, the way you used to tousle my hair even though you knew it drove me crazy. I’ll write about our long drives down the highway, our fingertips intertwined – your arm always pulling me towards your side, and me always leaning the opposite way. We were always running in different directions, weren’t we?
But maybe that’s why we loved so hard, worked so well – we taught one another to slow down.
I loved you. I did. And a part of me always will. I know you’re fumbling around, minding your own business, pretending like you don’t miss me. I know you’re stubborn like that, and I understand.
I won’t ask you to come back; I won’t ask you to stay.
I’ll just keep writing our love to life with these words.
Because on this page – you and I never die.