The next time I love, it will be a person who does not try to play house in the curves of my body, but really searches for who I am in my words. It will be with a person who understands I am more than a sweet gesture. I am not an extension of who they are. They will not use me to fortify attempts at compassion and romance. They will just be compassionate and romantic, with or without me.
If I ever fall in love again, it will be with someone who is my equal. They will not scramble to do better than me. They will not feel badly when I do better than them. My success will not be emasculating, but empowering. He will be proud of me, and my strength. He will be smart enough to know I would never use it against him.
When love finds me, the next time around, it will show me softness, tenderness, quiet. There will always be sharp edges, but you were only sharp edges. Yelling, fighting, forcing. I spent too much time trying to pad your sharp edges, find a soft place to rest my head, harden myself so I could cut you back. I changed myself for the worst.
This is not love. We were not love.
Love is many things, but it should not hurt all the time.
It should not make you feel crazy and insecure.
It should not make you wonder if you are worthy, or capable.
I still wonder how we went from being so wrapped in one another, like teenagers breaking curfew, to the less than strangers we are today. I wonder if I would recognize you on the street. It’s confusing, because as terrible as we were there is still a tender part of my heart, purple and bruised, that is decorated with memories that do not hurt me the same. They do not slice me with malice, but with sensitivity, and this is the worst pain of all.
I love you’s in the dark.
The rustling of sheets in the morning light.
Warm tea and biscuits on a cool fall morning.
Something as simple as your posture as you made me grilled cheese.
I miss those things so badly sometimes I stop breathing. Only for a second. Then I remember how you left, so quickly and coldly, like the winter wind you so often were. You moved on before you had left me. You moved in with her. You told her everything about me and us. You let her take things that belonged to us, intimate things, and suddenly I don’t miss you anymore.
There were months were I regretted you, and some days I still do. These are lessons that hurt, confuse me, even ruin brief moments of my day, but I needed to learn them. So even if I wasted years of my life, I owe you a thank you.
And if I owe you a thank you, maybe it wasn’t a waste.