It’s always the little things. A name will be mentioned and inside your head, a thousand memories come flashing back. You’re walking at the mall and someone passes by with a familiar scent you used to love; it’s the same scent you once breathed from someone’s neck. Like a snack from your childhood, you crave for the scent. A common friend shares a Facebook video and you hear a voice – a voice that once sang to you, once called your name, once a melody before you fall asleep. You miss the voice you feel a twinge of pain inside you. Because these little things are thorns. They do not hurt you that much but they prick you albeit lightly, still directly in the heart. Then you’ll think, Maybe I haven’t gotten over you yet.
It’s always the little things. Someone sends you a direct message on your Twitter account. And another on a newly downloaded app on your phone, Tinder. Hello, they both say. You visit their profiles. Not bad. Actually, quite interesting. But you won’t send a reply to either of them – you never did. You’re at the library. You’re about to pick up a new book written by your favorite author when someone else tries to pick it up, too. Your eyes meet. Cute, your mind immediately tells you. This particular person smiles at you. But you won’t smile back – you never did. Instead, you let go of the book, get another copy of the same title, and walk away. Then you’ll think, Maybe I’m not ready yet.
It’s always the little things that make you realize the bigger ones. And the idea is the same in love: it’s always these little things that make you realize whether you have moved on or not, and whether you’re ready for a new relationship or not.
But this is where the uncertainly lies. This is where you question yourself. Have I really moved on? If I did, then why do our memories come back whenever I hear your name? Why does the smell of your perfume still lingers in my nose? Why does a teardrop fall when I hear your voice in a mere video I find online? And let’s say I have moved on, am I really ready to fall in love again? If I am, then why do I push away every single person that tries to enter my life?
Maybe no one who’s ever truly loved could completely move on from someone. Because feelings sometimes betray. Because remnants will always be there. The places you’ve been to. The songs you once both loved. The broken pieces of the relationship you shared were already scattered all over the floor and while you’ve both managed to sweep some of them away, tiny shards could still be there and they could hurt you still. So you’ll tell yourself to just let things be. That even if it feels like it’s not alright, it will be alright. To let the wounds be healed by time, and let the scars you received be a reminder. That you’ve been hurt. That you’ve endured. That somehow, you’ve healed.
So this time, whenever your heart betrays you by your memories, this is what you’ll do.
It’s 3am and you’re about to fall asleep. As a habit you check your phone and opens Facebook. Scroll. You like several of your friends’ posts. You open a few saved pages. Then you go to the app’s On This Day feature. Two years ago you celebrated your one-year anniversary with him. You would’ve been celebrating your second year today if you hadn’t broken up. You have two choices: you wallow in your own pain or reminisce. You chose. You continue to scroll and see more posts from two years ago. Flowers. Chocolates. Your out-of-town trip. A photo of his letter you recently burned. A photo of your breakfast. A photo of you and him. Then you smile. Bittersweet, I know. But because you owe it to yourself, you try to smile.
Nevertheless, whether or not you have moved on, the uncertainty of being ready to fall in love again still exists.
The addictive desire to be in love always remain. There is a part in each of us that craves for both physical and emotional attention. Someone who greets us good morning and someone who asks before we sleep whether or not our day has been good. Someone who understands and accepts us, even though there are times that we can’t even accept ourselves. Someone who is our home in both sunny and stormy days in our hearts. Because the truth is everybody wants it: the passion, the unpredictability, the tugging and twisting of heartstrings, the emotional roller coaster ride.
But even then, inasmuch as you desire all these, you’re still unsure if you’re ready to fall in love again. And maybe, just maybe, the uncertainty itself is the answer. The fact that you’re doubting your readiness means you aren’t ready yet.
So whether it’s because you’re still hung up with your ex or you simply can’t make yourself vulnerable to anyone yet, go ahead and take your time. Don’t expect yourself to fall in love just so you can take the loneliness away, just so you can forget, just so you can stop being broken. Because we are all broken anyway – and that’s okay. Instead, this is what you’ll do.
You will love yourself. You will love yourself so much until that love overflows you have to share it to someone else. You will work on yourself, on getting back the career you seem to have lost, on visiting the places you dreamed to go to, and on learning how to be single and happy. You would stop dreaming about someone completing you one day because you will try to complete yourself on your own. You will be a work in progress. You will figure out what you want to do, what you want to be, where you want to go, and who you want to be with. You will heal your scars using self-love, because in the eyes of an individual who’s ready of a relationship, self-love is attractive.
It’s been a year and you come back to the bookstore. A familiar book lays on top of a table. A caramel macchiato, your favorite, beside it. You walk ahead and take a book you like. And just as you grab the seat beside the frosted glass window, a stranger gently taps you in your shoulder. “Hello,” he says. “Hi,” you reply. Then you smile.