A song comes on the radio and I am transported. In milliseconds, he sits here with me. His presence tangible. The heat of our interactions warms my skin anew.
It’s been years now. And yet my mind returns to him sometimes. With a strength and a passion that craves what we had. That demands his return.
Why do we return to our past loves?
Why do we drag them out of storage and rifle through the mental photo box?
And today, why do we spend an afternoon falling in love over old emails and sentiment long since abandoned?
Today is that day for me.
I was supposed to write about my birthday.
Ed Sheeran messed that up. Well, Ed and a trip to my office – to a fateful folder that holds our relationship – or what remains of it. It is the only tangible proof that he was real. That we were real.
He loved me then. I know he did.
And yet I move forward with a whisper of doubt, sometimes looking back longingly. Missing what was. Missing the fantasy that I had created about our life – the future that was never going to be.
I was well put-together before that stupid song came on. Before it coalesced with those few scraps I’d read this morning to cascade down my face in an outpouring of sadness.
So I return to the why. Why can’t I cast it aside? He has made a choice. His life moved in another direction – and he is welcome to that choice; I pray he finds happiness there. I genuinely hope that he is happy.
If my head is done, if my head can accept reality… If my head knows the truth, why can’t I get this chest-thumping, blood-pumping, organ on board?
When a relationship crumbles, why do we revisit it?
Do we go back to seek closure? Is that it? I just need him to tell me resoundingly to fuck off for good? I need to see that he isn’t better off without me so that I might feel redeemed?
Or maybe it’s a genuine missing of the goods parts of us. There is such nostalgia in the good parts – the way he stumbles over his words when he is tired and still I understand him – it’s cute. He’s cute and the two of us laughed so hard during those times. And does his disappearance from my life mean that those experiences must always bear the painful prick of missing? Must the smile always come with the sting at the back of my eyes?
Or maybe it’s the fear of not ever having that again. Will you ever trust like that again? Ever love so fully? Ever anticipate reconnection so excitedly? Ever again?
Or perhaps it’s the knowing that you can’t ever have it again – not as it was with that one person at that time in your lives – not as it was when you were the younger version of yourself and they were still the man you miss today. Surely, even if we met again, we both will have grown and changed. Maybe we are more calloused and less available – maybe he’s gained a little weight and gotten little greyer. He’s wiser, maybe – and less impetuous. And you weren’t a part of any of those changes.
Today is a sad day of missing and of nostalgia and instead of making it OK … instead of turning it into self-love … instead of making everything about happiness and hopefulness… today I wish to sit and experience these emotions. Specifically these melancholy aching ones. I’ll let the tears be my company today. Maybe next week I can talk about how cool this experience was and how it opened some door to self-esteem that I’d not seen before.
But today, the self-esteem message is simply accepting me exactly as I am right now. Handling myself with compassion. Seeing this tearful sad woman and accepting that she needs this day, these tears, this sadness and this pain.
I won’t Shhhh it away this time.
I’ll hold her while she cries.
Source for Photo is Pon and Zi’s Website