“Don’t you remember how it felt when we fell in love?”
Just the other week I got a surprise in the form of an e-mail from my ex-boyfriend whom I have not seen nor heard from in almost 2 years. Even more of a surprise was the tone of this e-mail, sounding as if there was a desire to see me again and that made me happy. So I decided to take a little trip to go see him and catch up.
We meet and start to talk. Catching up on various aspects of each others lives that we were a part of. We spend half the day just talking and I feel elated that it wasn’t the disaster I envisioned in my head.
As the night wraps up and I am seeing him off is when he suddenly drops a bomb rather casually.
He is getting married to his boyfriend in a week’s time. And he says it would mean a lot to him if I came to the ceremony. I immediately say yes without thinking. He gives me a hug that sends chills down my spine.
Nothing, I tell myself. I did it all for nothing. Or I waited too long. Regardless I felt like an idiot; stupid and heartbroken. It was like we had just broken up all over again. And it leaves my heart completely destroyed.
I wander aimlessly for the next several days. It’s like I am in this giant fog and I can’t see anything past my own face. My motivation was gone, my self worth lacking. While I wasn’t fathoming the thought of getting back together with him or that things would suddenly rewind, I wasn’t expecting what he told me. At all. There was such a finality to the words “getting married” and I guess I didn’t want to deal with hearing them.
All of this keeps running through my brain while I am sitting at the piano one night. I was playing a few little notes and telling myself “I wish I could just forget about him. His smile, the security I felt being nestled in his arms, how it felt to just hold… to hold…” and I stumbled with my memory for the first time in my life. And then I chuckled with a sigh of relief. And while playing the combination of notes on the piano I stated aloud to no one but myself “I’ve almost forgotten how it felt to hold his hand” and the next thing I knew I was jotting down lyrics at a neck breaking pace. And it was like no other song I had ever written. Not a song rooted in anger, or placing blame. It was a song of regret, where I stood, how I felt and where I belonged. Or maybe just things I wanted to say to him but never got the chance to. Regardless it pained me and I didn’t know what to do with the song I had just written. I knew it had to get out but I wasn’t about to sing it to him. So I did the only thing I could do.
I went and sang it at a karaoke bar. And just letting the truth, the honest to god truth about how I felt about him and what had transpired since I hadn’t seen him felt amazing. Because I finally stopped holding back.
A couple days later was his wedding and I showed up as promised. And it was the most difficult thing I had ever done. Approaching the area he gave me directions to I spotted him instantly. In a tuxedo, looking all dapper, even if it was a camouflage tux. He just had to be different. And I loved that about him. His eyes lit up as I approached and he gave me a huge hug. “I didn’t think you would actually come!” he stated so matter of factly. “God I’m so nervous. I mean this is it right?” he asked to no one in particular. “This is the big one?” I tried to calm him down as best I could, assuring him it would all be just fine. “Because you love him right? And that means more than anything else.” His reply to me was just a smile.
A woman announced the procession would be starting shortly and for him to be ready to move. He still was shaking looking towards the ceremony location. “You’re going to be a great husband. I know it.” And in that exact moment it all came to me.
What real love, the truest kind of love, really was. I was standing there with my heart breaking in my chest and yet I had to be there for him. I promised him once when we were dating that I would be that person, that one person he could rely on, for anything in his life. And here I was doing it. Seeing my ex get married to someone else. And I was happy for him. I wanted him to be happy. Whether I was part of his happiness or not was inconsequential.
Right as I cam back to it in my head, I gave him a final nod of approval and started to walk towards the procession area when he tugged my shoulder for just a moment. I turned and he held in the biggest hug I had ever had from him.
“How could I ever forget?” he whispered into my ear. “I will NEVER forget you!” And the tears started falling. But they weren’t my tears.
They were his.
And I wiped them away gently and reminded him. “There’s a very lucky man down that aisle waiting to spend the rest of his life with you.” His gaze lifted towards me. He had heard my song. Somehow, someway, he heard it. But it didn’t matter anymore. “You said you love him didn’t you?”
And I let him go. Not from my hand, or my heart, or even from my head. I let go of the part of him I imprisoned in my selfishness.
Then I woke up.
I had drifted off into sleep while I was at work. Overnight shifts can do that to you. I looked over at the clock on the computer and noticed the time. What the? 20 minutes? 20 minutes had gone by in the real world. In my head, days of memories and a song right there on the tip of my tongue, tears in my eyes, and a heart simply broken for the very last time. But the lesson was there. And I had to learn it.
Love isn’t what you want it to be. Love is what you need it to be in order to grow. It’s not your dreams and desires; it’s your guide and teacher. Meant to ask you the tough questions you didn’t want to ask yourself. And the only way to make them get answered.
That dream happened 5 months ago. A vision, a portent, a possibility if you will of what could have been. What will be. Or what never will be. Who know’s. The funny part is that dream took shape in the real world.
As of this writing, right at this very moment, that ex is lying beside me. Snoring albeit, but he is there. I had resigned myself to thinking I would never see him again. And I don’t care about right or wrong, truth or lies, being with him or without him. I just love him so much that his happiness means more to me than my own.
He keeps telling me how he did all the wrong things when we were together. Well I am just as guilty of doing a bunch of wrong things, even if they were for the right reasons. I never lied to him. I did break a promise though. I know he has lied to me. But does it matter? In the end, does any of that truly matter?
Or does waking up in his arms one more time make it all okay?
Yes. For just the briefest of moments… it does.
“But the tears keep falling
Though my eyes have dried
This heart has gone silent
Cause it’s no longer mine”
To my ex, you know who you are, I leave with you these lyrics that felt too important to just leave in a song.
“Maybe someday you’ll call me
We’ll talk just like old friends
No one else will ever know
How deep our story goes
But I’d like to be there till the end”
You changed my life. You changed me. And the more I try to deny and run away from the memory of you, the stronger it resonates.
“No I won’t ever leave
Even if you’ve forgotten how it felt to hold my hand”
And I don’t care if you’ve forgotten who you really are. Cause I will never forget what you are to me.
I love you.
This was written originally on my phone on June 15, 2016 and was completed on June 22, 2016 at 5:30 am.