You hear all these stories about young love. About how it burns bright and fast, like fire. It starts with all its might, turning yellow and orange, red and blue at the center. Yet the same quick way it starts it ends. I know what they say about young love. That it never lasts, that it’s just the first of many. But what when the ending is not by choice, but need, because distance gets in the way and we’re too young to realize that maybe this was supposed to be it. Maybe we’re too scared to admit that we wanted nothing but each other. And then friends’ opinions get in the way, or the thought of what “the right thing” to do is stops us from doing what we really want to do.
I said goodbye to my boyfriend last night because like many others, he’s going abroad for a semester. I tried to convince him there was no right thing to do, that if we really cared about each other then the distance wasn’t going to break us. But there was no point. He had his mind set on taking a break. He said he didn’t want to resent me, that the distance was inevitably going to make him resent me. I disagreed; I thought the distance would have made us closer because we would have had to work harder to be in each other’s lives. I thought the distance would prove to us how much we cared, like it had done with countless of my friends before. Yet his mind was set and there was nothing to change that.
As we held each other the last minutes before we was off to the airport it made no sense that we were breaking up. He had introduced me to all his friends and his family. Our last month together had made us closer than ever. Definitely not what you would expect of two people who are about to take different roads. But there he still was telling me it was for the better. I wiped the tears off his face as he told that he didn’t cry when he broke up with his last girlfriend, as he told me he didn’t know how to be without me and begged me to still be friends. I wasn’t sure I wanted to be just friends, but I also know that the idea of not talking to him cut me deeper than anything else. Even as he was leaving his dad was still giving me books and telling me he would see me back at school. Even as we were saying goodbye, it was obvious we didn’t want to part.
None of this made any sense, if he was suffering so much, and I was too, then why were we doing this? It’s only four months apart, I thought to myself. It’s only a short time compared to the wider span of things. But the decision had been made and it seemed that nothing was going to change that. Same old story of distance, same old story of studying abroad. I know I’m not the first to go through this situation, and I won’t be the last, but that doesn’t mean it hurts any less. Everyone tells me it will get better and I might even find someone new. The problem is that I don’t want anyone else, I don’t want new.
I was driving home and I wanted a reason to hate him. An excuse to not think about him and stop loving him. It didn’t come. It won’t come. The feelings I have are stronger than anything I’ve felt before. Even though breaking up with me should be reason enough for my anger, I can’t hate him for doing something I could tell he didn’t even really want to do. I can’t hate him for doing what he thinks is right. And maybe this is what true love is, letting him go so that he will realize he needs to come back. My friends tell me that if we’re meant to be together, the time apart won’t change that and we will find a way back to each other.
A couple days before I had told my best friend how sad I was, how lonely it felt to even think about him leaving, how I thought it was worse that the relationship was ending because of distance and not because we didn’t want to be together. How it was worse that it end for something that was out of our control. She tried to console me, but she also gave it to me straight. She said my life will always be like this, “because of the things you’ve chosen and the opportunities you’ve had.” I knew what she said made sense, but for once in my life I wished that she wasn’t.
I have no ending words of wisdom. I can’t tell you that I’m stronger now, or that I will be ok. I can’t tell you that it gets better because right now it just seems to get worse. My happiness still rests on his shoulders. The only thing that his holding me together right now is the thought that maybe in four months when he will realize that he can’t live without me and we’ll get back together. He told me to be positive and that’s what I’m doing, albeit not in the way he wanted me to be positive.
The last thing he said to me before turning his phone off was “I miss you too.” And that’s when I realized that the next four months were going to be some of the hardest I’ve ever had to endure and maybe they would be for him too. But hope is the last one to die, and that’s all I can hold on to for now, because if I let go of that too, then I might finally collapse.