I find it surprising that the simplest things bring memories flooding back in. Like water you didn’t realize was rushing behind a wall you’d so carefully built around you that suddenly seeps through the smallest cracks. Eventually, the pressure grows so immense that the wall has no choice but to give way and break. Music is usually what does this for me and since I love to wallow in my own depression I cling to music that makes me hurt. The type of music that steals the breath from my lungs and paralyzes my soul leaving me lifeless so deep in retrospect that nothing hurts anymore except what is at the very center of me.
A few years ago I ended a relationship that was fairly toxic to my mental and physical health. And as unhealthy as the relationship was it became the very center of me. I let it be the essence of who I was for years until it was so clear that our lives, his and mine, were going in opposite directions. From that moment on, it was like the burden of trying to make the relationship work was lifted and we both just fell apart. As tragic as the breakup was and as tragic as living without each other is, I am still glad that we were able to break the bond we had so relentlessly formed to each other.
And I still love him and think of him often. But I think that for now the best I can do is wish him light and love every time I think of him. Our last communication, two years ago, gives me confidence when I am unsteady that we will be okay.
I’ve decided to share the last letter that I ever sent him–the last words that I’ve spoken to him. And they are of love, kindness, and gratitude.
I can remember the moment I knew that I loved you. It was about six months after we met and we were riding in the work truck to pick up the boats that we had left on the island the day before. We were alone but we were still unsure of how to be around each other while at work. And if I recall, I was mad at you. You had flown off the handle on our coworker and still had yet to realize you needed to apologize to her. Our relationship was fresh and new and each other’s minds were still unclear. The radio tried to fill the silence and I was about to say something but you slammed on the brakes reacting to something on the road. Your arm flew from your side in front of me protecting me from the teeth of some imaginary beast. No accident occurred but I knew in that exact moment.
I had been on the fence about you. I knew that you were a sweet man capable of so much kindness if you would leave your heavy and jaded past behind you. But because you still clung to every bad thing that had ever happened to you I was scared to commit to someone so very much like myself. But I knew in that brief moment you were capable of loving someone else and that was the first time you showed me any real sign of compassion.
You can’t say that you loved me more than I loved you. You can’t say that yours was the only heart broken. I am just as devastated as you. Some days I can’t eat or get out of bed. J, there are days I can’t breathe without you. If you honestly believe that I didn’t love you as much as I did then our entire relationship was a sham.
I don’t know what was the moment you first realized you loved me and frankly I don’t care. What matters is that you did fall in love with me. And it matters that today you remember that moment. Please don’t treat me like a stranger refusing to talk to me or acknowledge our past. I’ve grown more with you than I have my entire life. In so many ways I have shaped my life around you. If you disappear, if you walk away without so much as a farewell, it seems then my life would collapse. Everything would fall inward filling the void that you once held. We are independent people with independent beliefs, interests, and stories. And I have lived my entire life trying to be stable on my own. I know better than to be dependent on someone else but it’s so funny how much you can love someone. I am a strong willed stubborn woman who will stop at nothing to become a respected biologist in the scientific community. But one glance from you or a squeeze of your hand and I’d follow you to the ends of the earth.
No matter how we spin it–we can’t be together. And no matter how hard we try we can’t be apart. I’d give it all up for you but you won’t let me and I won’t let you. We are stymied. Every step you take is a step from me. I can feel you every day getting farther from me and no matter how hard I try–I can’t get at you. I think we both know that no matter how much we want this it’s just not right for us.
When I’m lonely and I miss you I think back before France when we would spend Sundays lazily lounging around your apartment as the sun crept across the floor. I’m sorry for all hurt that I’ve caused you. Even on our good days we were so bad for each other but please know that I’ve never loved anyone more than I loved you. You were worth every fight, every scar, every tear, every night I stayed up wondering what the hell I was doing. The last thing you are is a waste of my time. I’ve learned so much from you and you’ve changed me in so many different ways. If this is the end I only want to remember us laughing, warm, and happy in your sun drenched apartment high above everything else.