I’m unpacking boxes, suitcases, and storage containers, and keep finding little bits of you.
The blanket you got me, so we could keep my place a temperature we could both survive.
The whisky glass, because I had none.
The signed comic from my favorite series.
The stuffed dog, to soothe the ice around my heart.
The letter you wrote, and left on my coffee table while I was still asleep.
And every piece is a precious memory, and every piece makes me smile, and every piece makes me sad, because you’re no longer in my life.
We met so long ago now, pushed together by familial interference. I don’t think either of us cared too much, but I should’ve seen the warning signs back then. On New Year’s, when you said in no uncertain terms you were not okay with the fact that I was leaving the city so soon, and then said the same thing over text a couple days later. We’d just met. It freaked me out a bit. I was told that was just how you were. I didn’t dwell too much on it. We exchanged birthday messages, talked a couple times. We’d gotten along well, & I viewed you as a friend that could maybe develop into something more. I, one, didn’t want to get my hopes up, but more importantly, didn’t want to get your hopes up. I knew you were a serial monogamist, and I was even less of a letssettledownletscommitthisisathing type of person than I am now. Didn’t exactly spell great prospects in my head.
I was kept somewhat up to date on what you were doing by our mutual friends. I was worried, but as a friend. I was told about your girlfriend, and understood the story was being told by biased parties, but knew there had to be some truth to it. When I moved to your city, you kept your distance, and I kept mine. You’d hurt those closest to me, and at that point, you needed to come to us, not the other way around.
And come you did. But, in ways we didn’t expect. You & me – suddenly we were joking about sex and whisky and movies and before I knew what was happening you were kissing me goodbye. You felt so good to me. You made me feel human. You made me feel like I was worthwhile. It scared the shit out of me. It scared me that I wanted to talk to you every day. It scared me that every particle of my body kept telling me to run away, and I stayed put.
But we never talked, did we? We never talked about what we wanted, what we expected. Did you want to see other people? Did I? Did we see a future together?
I can guess your answers.
No, and yes.
Whereas mine were yes, you are my only partner right now, but in the future, probably yes and no, I’m not planning beyond next Tuesday.
Which is why, when you were once again drunk on New Years, and I was half dragging, half carrying you back to mine, and you told me how you felt, my body froze. My mind went on lock. And I knew it wasn’t fair, to either of us. Because you were honest from day 1. I may have felt like we tumbled into a thing, that there was no ‘right time’ to tell you how I felt about monogamy and love and long term commitment – how, at that point, I couldn’t envision myself having a serious relationship.
But, in that moment, we’d reached a point of jump, or leave.
You would say jump. You’d jumped from the beginning. You wanted this. And I was still wading in the shallow water, unwilling to dunk my head all the way under and start to swim.
So I told you that I needed to take steps back, that I needed us to just be friends. And you said you couldn’t do that. I didn’t want to understand, but I did. I respected it. And we haven’t talked in almost a year.
On some days, when I’m feeling okay about everything, I’d like to think I gave you a few months of breathing space, where you had someone who was cool with basically whatever it was you wanted to do. We had no fights, we had no tension. We could relax around each other and just be. On other days, I wonder if you think of the the time we had as a lie of sorts, that you felt betrayed and hate every part of me. That you saw me as aloof and unresponsive and cold.
I assume that the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
I hope that you’ve forgiven me, if you haven’t already. I hope that you find someone amazing, who gives you everything you need and treats you with respect and wants the same things out of love, if you haven’t already.
Because you gave me so much I could never tell you. You saw me at my most vulnerable night in some time and took care of me. You always let me know you cared. You compromised. You treated me like I was a human being and worthy of respect, and I know that sounds like an obvious thing, something that shouldn’t come and go, but it does.
You were not the right one for me, and I was most certainly not the right one for you. But you taught me things, you gave me lovely memories.
So I still have your blanket on my chair, the stuffed dog on my bed. Because they matter to me, and will for some time to come.