I’m not really sure how it happened. I must have seen something that reminded me of you, or maybe passed by someplace we went before. Regardless, I let myself think about you today. Not in the way I typically do, which is full of anger and shame and blame. No, today I thought about the things that I haven’t let myself think about in a long time. The things I adored about you.
I let myself think about that first conversation when you fell so smoothly into step next to me. I let myself think about how easy it was to talk to you, about how you knew all about where I grew up and how nice that felt. I let myself think about how innocently it started, with us going for walks, discovering a brand new place under the late summer sky. How you would run a thumb over my dimple when I smiled because you said it only showed up when it was a real smile (not a polite one). I let myself think about how much I loved the nickname you gave me, I don’t get nicknamed too often, and this one was the perfect balance of flattering and insulting, one where it was funny but still made me feel a little special. I let myself think about how we didn’t talk about our favorite movies, we talked about how old we were, where we were, who we were with when we first watched them. I thought about the time we were going to the movies, how as I reached for my wallet you smiled and placed your hand over mine to stop me and simply said That’s not how this works. I covered my eyes in that movie, but you gently pulled my hand from my face to hold it. I let myself think about how you sweetly pressed your hand to the back of my neck and pulled me close when I felt homesick. I let myself think about how you would rest your forehead on mine before you kissed me. I let myself think about all of the things that come to mind when people who know our story ask me what the hell I saw in you anyway. And I do remember what I saw in you. I do.
I remember how easily you could read people and how cool I thought that was. You made it look so easy to figure out a person based on something seemingly insignificant and I admit I was always waiting for it to be my turn. I was always mildly afraid that you would reduce me to an insecurity.
And then I start to remember how you refused to kiss me if anyone else was around. I remember how you wrote to me knowing that I would write back if for no reason other than you knew how I felt about unanswered letters. It turns out you had already read me and I didn’t stand a chance.
So then, in my mind, I reach a familiar place where I start running down the list of everything that went wrong. How you took the kindness that you so often complimented and repainted it as naivety. Part of me used to feel compelled like I’m “supposed to” tell you that you ruined me, you broke me, you made it so that I can’t trust anyone anymore. And maybe it’s true that you don’t deserve to be written about so kindly, remembered so romantically when you were so unkind to me in the end. But as you said, I am a very warm person, and not even you could change that.
So I choose instead to let you go completely and gracefully. You gave me so much that I couldn’t have gotten from what I wanted. You shone a light on all the parts of myself that I needed to heal. You woke me up to the difference between someone who says all the right things and someone who actually does them. You showed me clear as day how to find out if someone has my best interest at heart by having demonstrated firsthand the exact opposite of that. You laughed about how much younger I was, but I honestly don’t think I have ever aged so quickly as I did when we said goodbye.
Please make no mistake, I am no longer bitter about having met you. I am so incredibly grateful for the part you played in my life. I feel free to find what has been waiting for me all along. I wasn’t crazy for wanting you the way that I did because at one point, you existed to me as someone so wonderful and so perfect for me. And you were perfect for me, just not in the way that I expected.
I know better now and I am so thankful for that. You also gave me something to write about, which as I’m sure you of all people can understand, is the greatest gift you could have given me.
I’ve done all the thinking and writing about you that I possibly could. Thank you for being a part of my story. The chapter is over, written and read. And I have this feeling that the rest of the book is going to be amazing.
So my parting words to you: wherever you go and whatever you do, I genuinely hope it brings you nothing but healing too.