Change is inevitable.
Footprints get swallowed by the ocean. Skin sags and scars. Skinny jeans fill out and memories fizzle like static. We lay our heads on different pillows, find homes in different places and stroke the cheeks of different faces. We gain and lose, and our hearts shatter and mend. Only one thing withstands the test of time. It can’t be measured into sugar cups, or restrained by binds.
It’s the love we give freely.
We dye our hair different hues and drape ourselves in different outfits- but our hearts are ever-changing. We can’t take back what we’ve poured into the people we love, or the things they’ve taught us. They may not recognize our faces in crowded rooms anymore but we’ll always recognize fragments of them in places we go, or in things they used to like.
I see them everywhere I go. Danny is in the bottle of water I guzzle before bed. Dennis is in the Swiss Army knife hanging next to my car keys. Jack is in the lottery tickets and gambling dens I avoid like the plague. Caleb is in the marked pages of my favorite books. Tyler is in the blend of nicotine and whiskey on my lips. And Stacy is in the floral dresses I walk by in malls. Sometimes, I feel them in the sunshine. And sometimes, I feel them in the darkest corners of rooms during the eclipses of my moods.
Any love we’ve ever felt takes root in the back of our minds and decorates our souls. Love isn’t a chalk board lesson you can erase when the bell cries. It changes us in more ways than we realize, whether we admit it or not. We think of the aftermath of relationships as this big competition. We swear to ourselves that we’ll never be the loser who forgets last. But burying feelings only kills you at the finish line. Accepting all that’s happened and treasuring the lessons helps you grow.
So smile the next time you feel, or see them. Be it from the wild flowers sprouting in between pavements or flashes of lightning in the distance. We’ll always remember them as who they were, and what they meant to us no matter how much they change as a person. Love shouldn’t be counted as loss. Because with every goodbye, you learn. And with every piece of yourself you give, you gain in return.