It took years for me to open the wounds we put bore into my skin, into the softest parts of my heart. I buried what we were, and the end of us because it was too painful to deal with, only to learn hiding from my feelings, ignoring them, burying them made them grow.
You helped bring me to this place. We loved each other’s families. We made these new streets our own as we grew into our adult selves, but eventually we began to understand you had to leave. You are the only person who has left kindly, out of necessity.
It was still messy. It was still painful. We were unable to remain in contact.
I tried for months to reclaim these streets you left me in as my own. It never truly worked. I had to replace you with other faces and bodies. I tried for years to walk into restaurants and bookstores without remembering your hand in mind. It didn’t work either.
No matter who it was I would still thing of your thumb rubbing mine, how the skin on your forearm was strangely soft next to mine, how you always pushed our shoulders together. It was never too close for us. It was never close enough.
And then you were gone. I understood why. It would turn out to be the only time I understood why, but somehow that didn’t make it any easier and every person after you would be a placeholder without my even realizing it. Square pegs for this star-shaped hole you had punched into me. Corners of them could fit, but only slightly, and only for a while. They could peer into me, but only for a time, and only in pieces.
It took me years to realize this is what I was doing. I didn’t realize it until it was done to me. All of the anger I felt, the misplaced rage…I had been blind. So blind with fury as my subconscious watched somebody else live a truth I could not. I truth I will never live because you are gone in the deepest sense of the word. Perhaps that is what I was angry about all along.
To meet who feels like the love of your life when you are so young and barely know who you are feels unfair sometimes. To have them taken away feels downright cruel. I have searched for you in so many others but to no avail and am only now accepting settling may be a part of life for me.
I had a boyfriend after you, who liked to sing, but he didn’t sing the same songs and it hurt my heart.
I had a boyfriend after you, who loved to travel, but he hated the mountains and it felt wrong seeing them always fade into the distance.
I had a boyfriend after you who loved cold weather, but like me he was waiting for somebody who came long before me. Unlike me, he still had somebody to wait for.
I have not talked about you to anybody. You are my heart’s deepest, darkest secret. The mention of your name still uncorks a well of sorrow in my heart I am not ready to drink. But I am looking at the liquid as it swirls, which is more than I have done in all these years, and I am preparing for the day when I will have to make peace with moving on without you.