This is not a love letter. This is me letting go. I will never regret the choices I made. They made me who I am today. All the mistakes I made led me to where I am right now. I’m a strong and independent woman standing on the edge of the world, arms stretched out, ready to love again.
I thought I couldn’t live without you; I thought I couldn’t love again after you…and yet here I am. I smile now. I giggle to myself over silly memories, but never memories of you. I only miss the companionship I had with you, nothing more. Each “good” memory of you is tainted by the reality of what really happened. Yes, I enjoy the thought of us driving to the store together but then there are the memories of you being “embarrassed” by me because I was “being too silly in public.” Even moments that should’ve been loads of fun — like driving to and from your cousin’s wedding in Buffalo or going to the casino — were honestly more “blah” than anything else. Even the “good” memories I had of you could have been with anyone else; there was nothing about you that set you apart. And there was no deep connection either; all we did was bring out the worst in each other.
I can look back and see the moments where I went wrong. Like a filmstrip in my mind…even our first kiss…no butterflies. I didn’t know that butterflies were real back then. I didn’t know how it felt to feel like dancing at a mere glance from somebody. And so I ended up feeling more alone than secure when you told me that nobody would love me the way you did.
At one point it occurred to me that I didn’t even want to bring you around my family and friends, scared of the things you might say or the way you might act. You didn’t respect my family. You didn’t respect my friends. You didn’t respect me. And whenever we did spend time with my friends I hated it; with you, my perennial job was to protect you from anything or anybody that could potentially harm you.
I remember when we first started dating and we would wait for each other outside our classes and when I saw you I’d always have huge grin. I remember you told me how good it made you feel to know that my whole face was lighting up because of you. Somewhere along the way I lost that smile. You told me I needed to stop loving you so much. I would kiss you all the time, hold your hand, touch you; my actions were little tokens of my affection for you. The more I gave myself to you, so easily, so readily, the more you pulled back. I thought I was doing something wrong; I tried to change (I didn’t know any better). And I changed to be the person you wanted me to be. But I lost myself too; I shut out my friends, I stopped focusing on myself. I put all of my energy into you.
I honestly didn’t even know the meaning of jealousy before I met you. Granted I was only 17 years old, but I had never thought that cheating was something I had to worry about if I loved the person. Why would I look for something else? Still, your jealousy issues took hold and I spent years trying to prove to you that I was not like every other girl in the world. I was different. I am different.
I am ashamed of the person I was. Some days I couldn’t even look myself in the eye.
The car accident may have taken your leg but it broke something in me too. I did everything I could for you and it wasn’t enough, so I stopped. I stopped trying to make you happy and started making me happy instead. But the happier I became, the more our relationship deteriorated. I finally clawed myself out of that terror and grief and I am stronger for it. And no matter how much you try to tell me that you’ve changed, too? You haven’t.
I’m a different person now. I look back on what happened and I’m no longer sad or guilty. I know I made the right choice, and I’m so much happier for it. Do I get lonely? Yes, sometimes. But I would never return to you. At the time I wanted love more than I could even understand what love truly was. I still want to be in love, but now I have the patience and knowledge to wait for the real one.
This is the good in goodbye.
PS: I smile when I look at myself now.