It all started with: “I’m letting you go.”
We met at a time when I was walking on broken glass shattered all over creaking wooden floors. We met at a time when I could barely walk, but still forced myself to slowly place one foot in front of the other and put on a straight face. We met at a time when I was a ticking time bomb and it shouldn’t have had been long until I exploded.
We met at a time when you were on your way to several new adventures, leaving behind a few pebbles behind you once in a while, because deep down you knew you’d retrace them to find yourself back where you felt safe, should you have needed to. We met at a time when you didn’t expect anyone or anything like me to demand so much of your time and your energy because you were so sure of what you wanted and how you were going to get yourself there. I have no doubt you still do. We met at a time when you were placing the right bets, poker face on, collecting as many chips as you could, should you have the best cards.
We met at a time when we both needed a different scenery, a breath of fresh air and an undiscovered place where we could confide in someone who knew nothing about us, without any judgment, no complaints. We met at a time when time was temporarily on our side, and hours blurred into nights and days and weeks. We met at a time when we had no expectations of what was going to happen. We met at a time when we didn’t really bother thinking of repercussions because there weren’t supposed to be any.
We met at a time when we both just really needed someone with an ear to lend and a shoulder to lean on, someone to drink and talk with about anything and everything under the sun and stars.
Chain smoking and unguarded, you showed me who you really were, rumors and all. Swigging down scotch and vulnerable, I showed you parts of me that would have taken months to uncover. Somewhere under my garage ceiling fan and the stale cigarette smoke, somewhere between the previous heartaches we shared and how we talked about letting go of those who hurt us, we went from being strangers to friends to something a bit more, but not quite.
Friends. That’s what we were and we both still keep thinking we are. Because you said you wanted to keep the friendship, and ours was more important to you than whatever else may follow. I said I respected that, and I still do, because it’s true.
Something more. That’s what we were really, and admittedly, you quietly agreed that we both dance along the thin line we drew between friends and something more. For months, we did. I followed your timeline and gave just as much as you allowed me to take. At times, I lost sight of what was really in front of me and gave a bit more, and selfishly expected more than you were willing to give.
Several times I’d tell myself that it was no longer good for me, because I was going to get hurt. I guess my drunk metaphor of us being in a red Ferrari heading full speed towards the dead end still holds true. Except that my airbags don’t seem to work and I can’t reach for the hand brake. Every second, I keep telling myself to get out because there’s no U-turn and there’s no way that I can get you to take a hold of the stirring wheel, slow down and take the next left to go back home.
I would have given you that home, here in my heart, and you know that because I’ve already told you. We could have made forts with blankets and watched all the stupid videos that we used to. We could have eaten like fat kids and I wouldn’t have shared my dessert with you because I would have wanted it all for myself. We could have kept our conversations that we had when we were getting to know each other, but we know we also could have talked about other things, or maybe just not have been talking because we were too busy getting to know each other some other way.
But I guess we’ll never know what could have been, because the what ifs outweighed it all in your mind. We’ll never know what it would have felt like to love each other, and to love loving each other. As I sat there vulnerable, raw and honest, I could not, as much as I wanted to and still do, contest what you were saying because all I could do was be grateful for your honesty.
Maybe if the timing had been different, if our paths had been different, if the distance between us and the way we were uncertain about our futures had been different, if I wasn’t so stubborn and you weren’t so scared, maybe, just maybe I wouldn’t be choking on words that I know deep inside I need to be doing.
I’m going to miss you, I’m going to miss us, our friendly conversations at 3AM, our non-spoken conversations at 5AM and those little moments when you allowed me to take a peek into your soul. I already do.
You helped me let go of everything that hurt me. I hope I helped you heal from your ghosts and brought a bit of light to chase away some of your shadows too. Somehow, you extended the timer on my time bomb of a heart. And for that, I’m eternally grateful.
But the thing is, I didn’t realize it was just an extension. And I guess that expiry is now, because my heart is painfully beating faster and faster now and, I need to let you go too.
So I guess, it also ends with: “I’m letting you go.”