My friends would hate me if I ever admitted I still think about you sometimes. It’s a bad habit of mine. One minute I’m thinking about how I need to buy a new swimsuit and the next I’m thinking about the time we drove 1,397 miles just to get to the beach. I know, deep down, you still think about it too—we found something transformative in the ocean waves that crashed over us, found something different in our gazes whenever they’d connect. There was nothing more delicious than the feeling of leaving our old world behind and finding one that belonged to just the two of us.
Unfortunately, we didn’t work quite so well in the real world.
I’d like to think everything happens for a reason. That maybe we couldn’t make things work for us because they were never meant to. That even though everything between us felt so right, we were wrong, and you just can’t force something to work when the whole universe is working against it.
But what if I’m wrong?
I think I tend to tell myself the things I need to hear to move on. I’d rather lie to myself to be happy than break my heart with the reality of the situation. And so I focus on all the ways things went wrong, on all the tiny ways you hurt me, on all the ways I improved when I finally walked away. I’m so sure of myself in those moments, so sure of my decision. But then you’ll text me and all those overwhelming emotions come flooding back, and I’ll remember the way you used to bring me coffee in bed and how you loved to surprise me just to see my reaction and the nights we spent holed up in the corners of dim, dingy bars, heads bent together to block out the world.
I try so hard to push those memories away. Not because I want to, but because I think I need to. There’s no use in holding onto beautiful things if they only cut you with their sharp edges. There’s no use in basking in a love that’s gone stagnant.
But sometimes I can’t help but wonder: what if you were The One?
I never really believed in soulmates until I felt the way we clicked. We were so different, but somehow exactly the same. Loving you was like looking in a mirror and seeing myself fully for the first time, not because I ever felt incomplete but because I never understood that I could be something greater, something more. It was like finding parts of myself I never even knew existed.
I’d always read about it in cringy poetry that made me roll my eyes, always heard about it in songs I tuned out of on the radio. I always hated the idea that our souls could be tied to someone—I was too in love with the idea of being unfettered, free. But there are strings that tie us together even still, bonds that I can’t seem to break. No match can burn this bridge we built, even as we leave it to rot.
Sometimes I wonder if we made the right choice. If we should have fought harder, if we should have spoken louder when everything around us tried to drown us out. We jumped into the ocean and let the tides carry us in opposite directions, and neither of us dared to fight them. But I should have swam. I should have drowned trying.
And okay, maybe you’re not The One. Maybe we’re just two souls that found one another and thought, “Yeah, I think I like this one.” Maybe nothing is ever meant to be. Maybe “soulmates” is just a concept we hold onto to justify the things we want, the things we feel. At the end of the day, maybe I just miss you.
All I know is that if we ever found ourselves back on that beach 1,397 miles from home, I would jump into the ocean all over again. And this time, I would swim.