I know it’s been enough years that I shouldn’t still be thinking about this. That it shouldn’t still sting. That it shouldn’t still hurt. And really, I guess I’m moved to write this because it… doesn’t any more. Or if it does, it’s the hurt of scars long healed over, deep and sad, but not vital.
We’re friendly. I’m not sure we’re friends. I think you have to interact with a person to be considered friends. And outside of a meme here or there, or a long dead inside joke that no one remembers but you and I, there’s really… nothing. I was shocked when I looked at the site that holds the old letter I wrote you, at how long it’d been since us. How long you’ve been gone. It’s been a while.
You put up a quote about your marriage, along the lines of not being desperate, knowing what you deserve, and being willing to wait for it. That struck me hard. And I was angry for a second, before I realized it was so, so true. I don’t think I was desperate. But I did love you. I loved you so much. I found an article today that really bookended this emotion for me, and I felt like it could have been me writing it.
“He was my great love — not because it lasted the longest or because he was the best boyfriend I ever had (far from it). He was my great love because of how I felt inside when I was not with him. In his absence, he became more present — as if the further away he was physically, the closer he was in my mind and in my heart… I always loved him more when I did not have him. …
We both moved on. He married her; I married another …
Sometimes, a great love doesn’t have to last forever. Sometimes, a love becomes great because it never makes it to the routine. Not breakfast and coffee and you-drop-off-one-kid-while-I-drop-off-the-other. Not dinner and dishes; bills and bath times; quiet glances across the room that don’t need words or whispers.
But this holiday season, I’m reminded that, conversely, this love was not great because it never made it to the traditions — the memories that matter, the long haul of life that keeps coming back day after day, year after year. The love that shows up. The love that stays. The love that watches in awe with me each Christmas morning as my two sons open presents under a glow of white lights — lights that no longer remind me of him.”
I have the love that shows up for breakfast now. And I don’t regret you. I did for a long time. I bitterly regretted every tear I shed over you, that I’d wasted my heart on you. But you really aren’t to blame. After all, you gave me exactly what you promised: nothing.
That’s not true. You gave me lots of things. Fire, adventures, enthusiasm, a creative sounding board, more music than I knew was even possible, courage, a foil, appreciation, and some belief. You believed in me. I wish that were the same as love. God, I wish that there were a way to ask you for a second of emotional honesty… to ask if you ever, even for a little bit, loved me? Not that it matters. But it might slake my curiosity.
And most importantly, you gave me the push I needed to be able to ask for what I wanted. I’d like to think that since I was close to the end of your single run, that I helped define for you more clearly what you did want. Feel flattered, I guess, because you certainly were that for me.
I don’t know if you’ll see me when you come home next.
I don’t know if you’ll find this here next Valentines’ day. (SoThere isn’t posting things any more, maybe you’ll end up here?)
I don’t know if you’ll recognize yourself in this letter.
I hope you do.
You were one of my great loves, but not the one that stayed. I am truly, truly glad that you did find her. And that I found mine. I think it’ll probably always be sort of weird between us, at least on my end.
But I’ll try to do as Fred says: let it go, let it go, let it go.