Once Was Seems Like it Could Never be No Longer

It was obvious by the look on her face.

That this was one of the first times this had ever happened.

A look of shock and confusion, her obvious physical pain masked
by her will to be strong for me, something she had always been

For everyone.

Here she was. Beautiful. On the eve of 30 only days older than her 
now suitor. The luckiest man in the office and the reason she now sits.

Here on the side of the trail with blood on her knees, forearms, elbow, 
chin, and brow.

You know gravel is a bitch for new mountain bikers. Unforgiving. Unpredictable, and flat out unfair.

And here she was. Someone I know had lied to me.

You can’t fool someone you don’t know that knows you better than you can even begin to understand.

My life defined by bike. An obvious cue when someone “used” to mountain bike. She had no idea how much it didn’t matter to me.

She didn’t understand she didn’t need to be anyone for me.

Ironically, it’s the same acceptance of yourself as a rider for exactly who you are that lets you begin to enjoy the sport even more, and to improve.

So pure. It demands it.

Life had gone a way she hadn’t planned it. Just as she hadn’t planned to be thrust face first into the flesh-grating gravel upon which she now sat.

Just as I hadn’t planned to be the one guy. The. one. guy.

In an entire office surely full of me’s who would have wanted her at a moments notice. I felt as the luckiest man around.

To be now, sitting here, showing care for this bookish, bloody, babe who I’d all but surely be rejected by the moment I opened my mouth.

But no.

She kept coming back. She kept coming back!

She wanted to drive home. So bent on not showing defeat.

I wouldn’t let her. It was time to be the man she needed. The man she’d been waiting her whole life to meet, as if it could have gone any other way.

To show her a new way of being, one she hadn’t known existed.

And just like that. One year and some months.

She’s gone.

She’d loved me but hadn’t been able to let herself feel the love we both knew was there but never had the chance to bloom

Into what could have been.

It hurts. And no, I don’t regret it. I only regret not living the life this time around that maybe, just maybe.

I could become her everything.

I lover her. Still. And always will. But.

I’ll have to await her at the end.

After I’ve loved the next one.