“Please don’t give up on us” I said in a hushed tone for the millionth time. We stood on his door step together. We were tired, frustrated, and angry with one another. My heart was breaking into a million pieces. I wanted to scream, but I couldn’t. The inner restlessness asphyxiated my natural emotional response. To cry. I felt powerless. I wanted him to hold me in his arms and kiss me. I loved him in a way I’d never expected. Completely. To me, this sometimes sulky, always funny, smart, man with a tough exterior but a gentle heart was “home”.
We’d argued all night. We’d never argued while we were together, and now, here we were still talking at 8:30 on an otherwise peaceful Sunday morning in September. Antagonized by the previous night’s discussion.
I did not want it to end. To me, we were building something together. A rythem. A life. I’d thought eventually, we’d settle down together, start a family, build a future. One day he said he wasn’t in love with me, and although he cared about me, wanted to protect me, and wanted what was best for me, he didn’t think we would be together in five years, so he thought it better to end it. He was happy. I was happy, but he felt he needed to feel that over-the-top, out-of-the-ball-park feeling to call “love”. What is all of that if not love?
….I never felt he didn’t love me, hearing him say he didn’t, was incongrunet with our story. To me. We matched. I’d felt that instant connection which with time had turned into what matters. Respect. Mutual admiration and friendship. These are the foundations of loving and lasting relationship.
The break up was at the end of July, three weeks before our anniversary, we did not communicate until August when we started texting and talking again. I felt there was hope for us, and I continued to see him and text him funny messages and discuss politics and every day musings.
Our story shuffled through my mind as I stood and looked out at cars passing by. From the beginning and our first awkward date, to our first kiss by the light of his Jeep after hiking the trail. To the many nights we’d stay up late talking about everything and nothing at once. I remembered how he’d climb into bed with me when he knew I would fall asleep before him and kiss my forehead to wish me good night. I remembered cutting his hair in his kitchen and giving him back massages until he melted in my arms. I thought about his daughter’s birthday and how happy I was to be able to spend time not only with him, but with her, Aary, and his family. Not only did I love him, I loved them as well.
As the movie of us played in my mind, I turned around, and walked away.
I cried the entire way home. I didn’t eat. I slept all day. I allowed an entire day to go by where I didn’t care about the world around me. I felt empty. I missed him.
…And now? We don’t speak. We agreed we wanted to remain friends and we agreed we needed time away from one another.
I’ve wanted to reach out, but worry that my words may betray me and “hello” might sound like “I miss you” and “how are you?” might sound like “I love you”. So I don’t.
As time has gone by, I’ve started to accept dinner and drink invitations. Instead of dating to forget, I am dating to remember, not Josh, but myself. Among the dizzying conversations about politics, and playful narratives about ex’s, children, and life I am trying to remember what I want and to allow myself to enjoy the magic of new beginnings.