It is 10:21 at night, and I have a cup of warm green tea laced between my fingers, and “This Is Us” slowly becoming more of white noise in the background instead of a story I am following.
Sometimes when my thoughts get heavy, and I find sleep evitable, memory lane is the first place I visit. And lately, I have been visiting you there.
When I first met you, nothing in my life was in order. My life was still packed up in boxes, in my parent’s garage after moving back home at 25. I was working as a part-time waitress to help contribute to my once a month paycheck from the school district and was 2 weeks out of an abusive relationship. Needless to say I was on the path of starting over. I was creating a new normal.
I recognized you the moment you walked into the restaurant.–a man who used to be my fourth-grade crush. You were just as good looking to me at 25 as you were when I was 9. While I was busing a table, you came over to me and handed me your number on a bar napkin, looked at me and said, “I didn’t want to miss my opportunity.” I remember instantly thinking, “What opportunity? I am a mess.”
I took your number, but at the time had no intention of actually texting you, as I knew the state I was in and didn’t want to get you involved. But going home that night, I couldn’t shake the thought of you. I didn’t want to miss out on a good opportunity either, so I texted you.
The short time we spent together had been full of growth; growing together, to growing apart. We had an opportunity to heal, be present and care for one another, which we did wholeheartedly.
We saw ourselves in each other. Broken, battered and bruised.
So we gave to each other what we needed for ourselves, comfort, stability, acceptance. However, you cannot give someone what you do not have, and I didn’t have anything left to give you.
And for that, I’m sorry.
I am sorry for the heavy baggage, the triggers and the doubts that you didn’t know you’d have to unpack when you met me.
I am sorry for a mess that wasn’t yours to clean up, but you did anyway.
I am sorry for the scars that mark me, ones that you could never heal that quickly, even with your love, commitment or resilience.
I am sorry I shut down when you proved to me time and time again you wanted to fight for us.
I am sorry I assumed the worst from you when you were always offering your best.
I am sorry for the mixed messages I gave you, for the confusion, the heartache and my wishy-washy commitment.
I am sorry that because I couldn’t comfort you, you found temporary comfort somewhere else.
But I am not sorry for what you taught me, about myself, the world and relationships.
It was never your job, or your duty to “love me back to health.” I couldn’t be healed by one man, while I was rebuilding myself from what another man tore down. We were both Broken Wanderers, and two lost people are never going to find their way home.
Losing you still brings a painful ache to my heart, but I needed to lose you. I needed to lose you to find myself again. And without losing you, I would have never found me.
So thank you.
Thank you for always letting me be me.
Thank you for appreciating and understanding why I had to do certain things to heal and always respecting my choices.
Thank you for letting me be vulnerable and not running away.
Thank you for always staying present when all I did was run.
Thank you for showing me I do have the capacity to love and to be loved fiercely.
Thank you for holding me during my dark days, showing up for me when I couldn’t show up for myself and for believing in who I could be when I couldn’t see it.
Thank you for fighting. You fought hard for what you saw in me.
My vision of who I was, or who I could be, was long gone when you found me, I didn’t see myself in the same light you did.
I still think of you often and hope you are finding the love I wish I had the capacity to give you. I hope you find someone whose eyes glow when she makes eye contact with you, I remember there were times I looked at you with so much wonder. I hope you find someone who loves you deeply and fully and someone who never makes you question your place in her life. I hope she appreciates art the way you do, appreciates your eclectic group of friends and appreciates the good ole game of BlackJack. I hope she respects you, admires you, and believes in you.
But most importantly, I hope she loves you in a stronger way than I could. I hope she doesn’t run, but stays and proves to you that you are worth fighting for.
Because you deserve it. You’ve always deserved it.