Did I miss out on us?
All those summer months together, when the smell of chlorine and SPF were my perfume of choice. A time in my life when a rainy day meant sitting inside with you, laughing over playing cards and planning where we were going to drink our next beer. Just two people, who used the word friend to describe a connection that felt like a lot more than just that.
I always talked about these wild dreams and big plans I had. “I want to be anywhere but here.” You would always smile and laugh at me. Or tell me I could do whatever I wanted. Sometimes I wish you would have just told me I was missing out on an adventure, one that was sitting right in front of me.
But I understood what kind of life you wanted, a life you still want. Building a home in a small town you love, one that loves you right back. Filling your days with family and friends, celebrating each other in small pizza places on quiet corners, across from dive bars. I envy you for having so much love for this place we both came from. For knowing exactly what you want. I’ve always been the opposite, but you knew that too.
I’d be lying though, if I said I never wanted to build all of that with you. Because a big part of me did, still does in a lot of ways. I always thought I had the time. Every girlfriend you ever had, or relationship you ever told me about never phased me. I knew they weren’t your forever. I was supposed to be that. One day I would come to my senses and see that this is what I should have been running towards all along.
And BAM! Happily, ever after…
But life doesn’t work that way. Time doesn’t stop, and people can’t wait for each other forever. Just because I wish I could stop running away doesn’t mean I’m going to, and just because I wish you weren’t falling in love with someone else doesn’t mean you aren’t going to. But I think we owe it to ourselves to explain the years of comfortable silence and long embraces. All those sly winks and gentle smiles across our crowded hometown bars.
These days our lives don’t intertwine near as much as they used to. My east-coast life doesn’t sit quite as still as yours in the Midwest, and that’s okay. But you should know I love who you are, and I always have. I heard you have a new girl now. One that makes you think about the future. One that makes all these dreams you have a possibility.
I think ironically that’s the thing I find comfort in, knowing that you will cultivate an extraordinary life with someone wonderful. A life that you have always wanted. It stings now in the moment, knowing my tattooed covered hands aren’t the ones that will be holding yours through it all. But sometimes the universe decides our fate for us, and maybe we were always supposed to be exactly just this.
I hope you know I feel very lucky to have been your maybe, your what if, your ‘friend.’ I’ll continue chasing these wild things I find fulfillment in, and you’ll continue making the world around you better by just being you. Thank you for showing me what love can look like.
Even if it was always just a maybe.