I’ve never really kept count on how many years it’s been. Facebook reminds me with that post I made on that fateful day: March 1st, 2014. I can’t believe it’s been three years since I first met you.

I was a home grown Vancouverite who has never been strapped to a snowboard. It wasn’t my proudest moment but I don’t think you cared; you grabbed me by my elbows and popped me back onto my feet, hopped a few meters down on your snowboard, plopped onto the frozen snow, and burned through endless packs of Belmonts. Sometimes you would leave to rip up the more difficult hills with your friends, but you’d never fail to come back and check on me. Whenever I felt my ankle twisting in the awkward boots within their locked position, you would pop the board off my feet and I’d watch this guy zip away, horizontally carrying my red and black snowboard.

I’d never think I’d be calling this guy my boyfriend. We couldn’t be more different, but there was a time that you made me so damn happy. You drove 40 kilometers every night for a week bearing gifts to come see me; you were probably the first genuine sweet guy I’ve ever dated. I look back on photos and they never fail to make me smile. I still remember watching you sleep in my lap.

I wonder if we could have been stronger if we met a little later in life. I catch myself asking why what we had wasn’t enough and why I couldn’t voice my doubts better. I didn’t want to leave but you gave up on me too. It crushed me that we never got to do this in person, crushed me to leave when I was still so attached. Maybe then you would’ve seen the tears trailing down my face. Maybe then you would’ve known that what I was saying wasn’t really why I was upset. Our break froze my heart and shuttered its windows.

It’s a lot of “what ifs” and “what could have beens”. We’re much different people now than when we first met; time has dulled the pain and life has sharpened my immaturity down to the essence of who I am. I know that you’re dating someone new and that you’re probably much happier with her than you would have been with me.

Every now and then, I see shadows of you in people and it takes my breath away. I hope you’re well and a part of me still misses you and wishes we could still talk like friends. Sometimes I catch myself wanting to contact you and my fingers rapidly delete any of the messages. I don’t want burden your life so I choose to remain on the sidelines.

The years have ticked by, and lots of things have changed. One of my favorite things to do is talk American politics while playing Jenga. I’ve become a high-functioning alcoholic with a self-proclaimed degree in old Spanish reds. I still have an affinity to cheesecake, bubble tea, and the beach.

I don’t see people as blindly optimistically as I used to; sometimes it bothers me how pessimistically I’ve grown, but it filters out those who’ve come to stay and those I’m better off without. I laugh with people I actually care about and life’s been pretty awesome on my end.

I hope you’re happy and come upon moments of joy in your daily life. While I’m not looking for another soul to take your place, I’ll be searching for the warmth I felt in your gloves when you lent them to me.

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