So, for the first time in a long time, I am single.
When T and I first broke up, I was on my way to grad school and a host of new possibilities. He simply didn’t see us as one of them. So, I walked away. For two years, I answered only to myself, imagining a future of my own choosing. I had no interest in dating (my OKC profile only lasted maybe a month) and the one date I did go on didn’t merit anything more than a “nice.”
He and I crashed together the summer after I graduated, inevitable as gravity.
It was wonderful and indulgent, having him in my life again. Like slipping into a well-loved t-shirt or cozy sweater, basking in memories faded by time but no less warm. T has always been my safe space, somewhere I could slip off my armor and reveal the pale, vulnerable skin beneath. I took comfort in his familiar hands, the way our bodies lined up like puzzle pieces.
It was almost September when I got the call for a job in Denver. He was gearing up to help out his father with his business, and I was struggling to stay afloat in an economy that wanted nothing to do with me. T encouraged me to take this step forward, promising that we would work it out.
Each passing week, it became clearer that his words simply weren’t true.
It wasn’t our fault, in a way. We didn’t fade out of love like the last track of an album, the last few notes bittersweet in the air. Sparks still flew between us, even with all the miles stretching between him and I. But, our feet were taking us in different directions, the two of us on different paths, and it was only a matter of time before we split entirely.
When T came to visit, I knew what would happen. I didn’t realize how much it would hurt. I didn’t fathom how much hope I had swallowed down, burying it beneath rationalization and sarcasm, but still burned hot in my gut. Embers that refused to die for seven years.
He said goodbye. I said take care. Those were our last words as a couple.
Now, I’m severed, split apart into my own separate piece. It’s strange; I feel the ghost of him like a phantom limb, distracted by a warmth that is no longer there. Even knowing that this was the best for both of us, there are times I’m so swamped by longing that I’m not even sure that I’m not dreaming, and that I’m going to open my eyes to see him sleeping next to me. My bed remains empty and my heart remains broken.
But, I know that’s not the whole story. I know that each step forward is pulling me back together, stitching up my wounds with silk until the only thing remaining are faint scars. I know that the dreams of him will fade and I’ll be happy to wake up to my own universe that consists of only me. I know that one day I’ll be able to call him and he will have firmly shifted into a different definition, into a best friend, the heart strings between us finally cut.
Each day is a step forward onto a road of my own choosing. My feet are still heavy, still struggling to make each step, but I know time will lighten my load. I will run again and it will be like flying.