Even though it hurts, I’m not going to reach out to you. I’m not going to send you a “hey” text because it’s Tuesday at 2 p.m. and you popped in my mind.
Even though it hurts, I’m not going to pull up your Instagram and “like” a handful of your old photos because I’ve been drinking and I’m less scared about how it might make me look and more scared that if you stop seeing my name, you’ll forget about me.
Even though it hurts, I won’t bring you up around my friends anymore. Not because I’m ashamed to think of you in public places, but because I know the casual mention of your name will begin as a ripple, and as soon as I’m alone, I’ll find myself drowning again.
Even though it hurts, I’m not going to take it personally that you didn’t call on my birthday. I’ll tell myself we can wish each other well without speaking. Tell myself you’ll never see the date on the calendar and not think of me.
Even though it hurts, I’m going to block your number for as long as I need to. Knowing it could flash on the screen at any given moment keeps me suspended, hoping that I’ll hear from you again. Of course, I’ve deleted it so many times that I know it by heart. It’s crazy how the same seven digits you once nervously cleared your throat to get out now feel like marching orders on repeat in my mind. Sometimes I run my hands over the numbers, knowing that in a matter of seconds, all of my progress will be undone.
Even though it hurts, I won’t hate the fact that you are finally the partner you were never ready to be for me. I’ll tell myself that timing is everything, that some people are bridges to get to the other side and some people are the other side. I’ll try to believe you were a bridge for me too.
Even though it hurts, I won’t punish myself for not telling you I loved you sooner, when I knew on that first four-hour road trip to visit you. I remember being so nervous that I got lost twice. How, instead of saying it that night at the hotel bar, I told you I was “dating around” because I knew you were. (I wasn’t.) I just couldn’t be the silly one who fell first. But damn it, I was.
Even though it hurts, I’m going to stop sending you songs I write about you, hoping you’ll catch the subliminal messages and read between the lines. I’m only fooling myself when I act like I “just want your opinion”. I know you see right through it—music was our thing, after all. Every song was us.
Even though it hurts, I’m going to make a conscious effort to become whole again. I’ll train for a run, or take myself on a lunch date alone, or plan a night out with the girls that I’ll hardly remember but crack up laughing every time I try. My God, it will feel so good to laugh.
Even though it hurts, I’ll be for myself what I thought I needed from you. I wanted you to be the one at all costs, and in the end, it left me penniless. I’m slowly finding my power in filling my own pockets. As it turns out, I can do that all on my own.
Even though it hurts, I look forward to the day we both find happiness, even if it was always meant to be found separately, even if you find it first. I know it will sting like lemon juice squeezed on a cut finger. I know it might send me questioning God and the universe. And maybe I’ll ask every “why” that’s been spinning in my mind. Maybe I’ll still hope that you’re missing the hell out of me and once I’m finally the happy one, you’ll be the one who can’t sleep.
Even though it hurts, I know that what we had was special and, when it was good, it glowed in the dark like jellyfish and fireflies. I know that we didn’t meet by coincidence, that there was some purpose to the madness. And I know that my days of crying aren’t over, but just like any other sickness, sometimes you just have to sweat that shit out knowing that if you can hold on a little longer, it won’t be inside you anymore.
Even though it hurts, I’m going to allow myself time to grieve. After all, I’m mourning the death of the space and time we shared. The death of our season. The death of who I thought you were. The death of the person I thought I was. The death of your touch and your voice and the way you looked at me for those split moments. I’m going to let myself cry and watch sad movies and listen to sad music and scream and overeat and undereat. But not forever. Storms don’t last forever. Storms pick up speed over water and come to land to die. And one day my feelings will rest on a distant shore and I will find peace in our memories. Life goes on, even the one no longer intertwined with yours.
Even though it hurts, I’ve embraced being lonely longer than I thought I ever could. I’ve learned the repercussions of forcing bad timing, and I’ll never go against my gut again. So, I’ve stopped trying to end a story I’m still writing chapters for, knowing I need to close this book, even if for the hundredth time.
One day, it won’t hurt. One day, I‘ll be rushing to meet the girls for lunch and my sister will yell at me up the stairs because we’re running late, and I‘ll yell down, “What time is it?” and she’ll scream back “2 o’clock!” I’ll stand still for a second, almost done with my mascara, and then laugh—the largest, loudest, deepest laugh—and I’ll laugh so hard I’m crying. And my sister will come running into the room, asking what happened, and I‘ll say, “It’s finally just Tuesday at 2 p.m.”