When we were younger, we had no idea the stains we’d ink on each others’ hearts. I was thirteen, and you were fifteen. And loving you was as easy as the blink of an eye. You cared for me in ways I never thought fathomable. You were so beautiful in my eyes, it almost blinded me. Beautiful, because you took me just as I was, sheltered me from the storms, and wrote me a future I could believe in. I never thought in a million years that I could utter, “I love you” at such a young age. I was probably reading too many books and that’s why I fell so easily into the cliche. But I did.
We broke the barriers of ‘normal relationships’; living hours apart from each other. But the hours we spent on the phone, on video chats, through texts, saving countless dollars to send each other things, and eventually the endless drives to see each other as often as we could was the easiest price we could pay for each other. Yeah, we met via internet, but I’d like to believe our souls met through fate. And the months slowly passed, they turned into years. Years I wouldn’t trade for the world.
Do you remember when our long nights of laughter somehow turned into sighs and stressful tears? But before we’d hang up the phone, we’d promise that everything would be okay in the end. Because at some point, we’d end back in each others’ arms. I longed for the nights where I would roll over and wish the pillow next to me was you. My arms would ache to curl up on your chest and rest my head on your shoulder, to wrap my legs intertwined with yours. I would replay in my head each time I got to see your eyes with my own, and not a screen. I would carve the dates of our visits into my windowsill, as I sat in front of the glass, looking out at the stars. We promised each other, “Always and forever, until the last star dies.” Really, because no star ever really dies, as the light it sends takes millions of years to reach us, and new stars are constantly being born. Our love was endless, and constantly renewed.
Each day, no matter what the time or place, I would write you letters so you’d never miss out on a thing going on in my life. You would anticipate getting the booklets full of them, so when I left you could sit and read them, and feel just as tangible in my life as I wrote you to be.
You took so much from me, but I was so willing to give you the universe. When I gave you my virtue, it was so much more than that. It was my commitment to you. We were out camping at Palo, and the special dock of ours had poles with beautiful holes in them, so when the wind blew, it sounded like flutes softly playing for only us. And you laid me down by the lake, underneath the stars and moon, and I was ready. I could hear the chirping of nightlife, the soft pull of the tide. The moon as the only light to illuminate us, but we didn’t need it to know exactly where to touch. I remember the day I had to go home, I spent pages and pages recalling every detail I could possibly put to words. It was the only story I couldn’t give to you, because I knew you knew it as well as I did.
I remember the day I cried as the bus pulled away from me, and you placed your hand on the window, just looking at me with eyes that spoke a million words of seeing each other soon. I started to fall to my knees, and with an epiphany, I started to chase the bus out of a dwindling hope that our lives wouldn’t require any goodbyes.
On Christmas Eve, you got down on one knee in front of my family, brave as ever, and pulled out a little black box. Of course I couldn’t help but jump into the safety of your arms chanting “Yes” and “Always”.
I remember us driving down a road and screaming songs at the top of our lungs, me freaking out when you took your eyes off the road to kiss me.
Kiss me….You made my mouth feel like it was a pit of burning desire. I could never get enough of your kisses. Even when your stubble would poke and scratch at my cheeks, I’d pull you closer. My hands fit perfectly into yours, my head right on your chest, my ear attuned perfectly to the sound of your heartbeat–my Forever Lullaby.
We made countless memories that pieced us together, bit by bit. So many that I wouldn’t know where to begin! I would proudly wait for the days where I could boast that I had the perfect man. The near-perfect relationship. The cutest love story ever to be told. I can’t even remember if I was able to write them all down.
Everything in the world put us at odds, including those around us who filled our minds with doubt. It almost makes me question how we made it as long as we did. When someone would tell me it wouldn’t work, I used to hold the pictures of us tightly to my chest and count each loving word you ever spoke to me in my head. I would run my fingers across my face and through my extra long hair the way you would when we curled up with each other, trying to forget the fact that this trip would again end soon. I would bring my stuffed tiger you bought me at the circus close to my face, and wrap myself in your jacket just to be able to smell you. And you smelled like happiness. Like the sun peeking through the woodland trees to smile on my skin. I’d twirl my ring around my finger, and rub the diamond heart necklace on my chain. I’d trace the outline of your face in the air and smile at nothing. Because you were my first, and only love. I couldn’t think past the sound of your voice. We were truly made for each other…
But even love can’t erase the demons. I struggled each day with depression, insomnia, anxiety, paranoia; You know my whole list. You know how I fought the urge to cut my legs like a slaughterfest. How I would cradle the bottle, only moving it to put it to my lips. When I would have blackouts, I would strike out at you, the only person pleading for me to come back to reality. You never ceased to amaze me, putting up with the forces that couldn’t be controlled by medication or therapy. You would hold me until I stopped shaking, until the tears stopped rolling, until the blankness in my eyes turned back into consciousness. Even after I did horrible things, said vile words, and went catatonic, you would still be there to tell me it’s okay. But it wasn’t, “okay” was it? The strain it put on us, with your own depression, and my own clusterfuck of problems crashed and collided with the armor of our devotion. It was bound to wear and tear on us. After a while, sweet nothings turned into vicious fights, phone calls ended without “I love you’s”. I stopped going to therapy, and started to exile myself to the confines of my room. I’d stop answering the phone, only when I did to hit the ignore button and erase unlistened-to messages. The voices in my head turned me against you. The people you would tell our problems to turned you against me. And it ended. Just like that. Well, not just like that. But we gave it one more shot. And you let others get in the way of my desperate cries for the final time. I was banging on the walls of my skull, begging you that I was still in there, I was just lost and confused.
But you obviously didn’t understand. You cut the strings that sewed us together. I simply looked at my phone and just gave up. After ….extensive rehabilitation… I came home, I sat on my bed, and suddenly felt more caged than ever. Because my whole room was filled with you. It took up so much space that my walls closed in on me. I couldn’t bear the thought of tearing everything down though. So I just left it, and slept in the guest room. I changed my number, I rid my finger bare of the seven stones you placed there. I ripped off the necklace to see if that was what was choking me. It did no good, it just took away one more piece of my heart that was clinging to lucidity.
I don’t know how long it took for me to come out of the haze, but at least I did. The world didn’t look the same anymore after almost six years of seeing it with gossamer eyes. Suddenly, the world had no color. But I contented myself to blacks and whites, and shades of grey I wasn’t going to venture to. My ‘trophy room’ taunted me with echoes of who I used to be. Ghosts trying to seduce me to coming back to an endless wallowing. I barely had the strength to look the other way and keep walking. You always told me I was the most stubborn girl you’d ever met.
I’d like to tell you about who swooped in and picked up all the pieces of my heart you left shattered in a graveyard. But he has nothing to do with you, so I’d like to leave him out of it. But I can’t deny to you that your name slipped out between my lips when I intended to say his. This happened on more than one occasion. I can’t deny that you never left the edges of my dreams. That I used to recite everything I could about you so I wouldn’t forget. That I’d look at others, wishing I could see your eyes, not theirs. I’d like to tell you how I didn’t wish to just hear you take everything you did back. But I’d be lying. Didn’t we promise to not lie to each other? Or was that a lie too? Somewhere along the way, on my rocky road to recovering from my haunting past, I figured out what it was like to breathe on my own again. Granted it was ragged and unlettered, but it was my own again, whether I liked it or not. If I had the chance, I’d tell you so much that I never got to do. I never got to tell you “I do”. I never got to show you my homeland. I never got to make a family that we dreamed of. I never got to give you 110% of myself.
Instead, I reserved myself to just trying to be strong, and not revert to a dark mess. I learned that the muscles in my face still remembered how to smile, even when I wasn’t feeling like truly smiling. My fingertips stopped aching so much. The house stopped seeming so cold. I was brave enough to walk into my room and feel like I could sit on my bed and not sink into it. I looked at my wall, and slowly smiled. You’re not here, physically, but I know I’ll always have you in my head. Even if you shouldn’t be any more.