I promised myself that this would be my last love letter. Sometimes I make promises to myself that I don’t keep. The great Ernest Hemingway said, "Write hard and clear about what hurts." Love. Why does it hurt? Should it hurt? Everyone will have a different answer to that question. But when you lose someone you love, the answer is painfully clear. Love can hurt. It can burn. And in this case, it can make your words bleed out on paper. If this was my last love letter, these are the words I would use and this is the story I would write...
Snow Patrol's "Chasing Cars" was playing on my iPhone. On the day that it ended, he told me that he would always be my biggest supporter in the shadows. But that wasn't what I wanted. I wanted to see his smiling face and hear his words of support in my greatest and weakest moments. But that wasn't going to happen. He disappeared and left my life as quickly as he came into it. And he stole my heart in the process. I sometimes wonder, will I ever get it back? Or will he own pieces of my heart forever?
The way we met was typical of many stories. He was sitting at a bar with people I knew. I happened to be in the area. We were introduced. It was a quick hello. But when I shook his hand and looked into his eyes with a smile that "thing" happened. That "thing." There should be a better way to describe it, but if it's happened to you, you know that it's truly indescribable. You can feel that "thing" through every nerve ending in your body. Even if it's just for a moment.
I recognized it, released it, and then went about my business for the day. But I guess fate wanted me to see if that "thing" was more than just a passing moment. From that day on, I kept bumping into this stranger who didn't feel like a stranger at all. And very quickly, he became more than a friend.
Passing conversations turned into walks in the park and occasional workouts together. We would watch our favorite television show and make predictions on the following week's episode. Eventually I began serving Sunday brunch; frittatas were my speciality. And when our schedules would allow it, we would get together for an evening of cocktails, or two, (or three). But the best part about our time together were our conversations. We could talk about anything with each other! It was uninhibited honesty. And it was refreshing! Some were conversations of depth, while others were dreams of the future, and some of our talks were just old-fashioned silliness with endless laughs. Our time together was well spent. It was easy. It was comfortable. It was honest. It was real. And I think it's fair to say that we fell in love. At least that's what we said to each other.
This man, who somehow lit up my soul the moment I met him, came with warnings. You know what they are; the usual kind. Roaming eyes, a wild side, unsure of what he wants at times, a reputation for not being able to commit (but people also said the same thing about George Clooney, and even he finally took a walk down the aisle). This man was a lover of life and he adored his friends. They felt the same way about him. But when it came to women, even his friends put a warning label on him. And so I tried to hold back my feelings, but I stood no chance against the chains that tried to restrain my emotions. We almost never stand a chance when two souls connect.
I decided that I was going to come to my own conclusions about him. And this is what I discovered... His eyes were filled with hope. He liked to take in everything around him because he was curious and caring about human life. He also liked to be aware of people and his surroundings; while his instincts did not trust everyone, his heart wanted to believe the best in everyone. And the more that I peeled back the layers of that "bad reputation" the more I discovered that he was just a man who dreamed of a happy life. He often spoke of his desire to spend his life with his best friend. He was subconsciously, or maybe even consciously, searching for her. Whoever she might be. And what about the warnings that came from his friends? Yes, of course they saw a side that I did not see. We all have many sides. But I'm not sure that his friends took the time to get to know the depth of him. I suppose that's typical of many men. Which is okay. Not everyone needs to know the depth of a person. At his core he was a man who was flawed, but wanted to work on becoming the best person he could be, even after his mistakes and setbacks. And he tried not to judge other's mistakes, as he did not want them to judge his imperfections. I embraced his flaws because I have flaws too. In fact, I liked that he had flaws. They made me love him more. I wasn't looking for someone who was perfect. I was looking for someone with substance. He had substance.
As we began to share our heart's desires, we supported, challenged, championed and rooted for each other. I never wanted to have him in my shadow. I always wanted him by my side. But he changed his mind about us. It was his choice. The day we said goodbye, I asked him if he still loved me. He said that he did not. He didn’t want to hurt me, but his words were crushing. I can’t fault him for being honest. Even though somewhere inside, I hoped that he was burying his feelings or lying to protect me from God knows what. But he made it clear. He no longer felt the same way about me that I felt about him. And he wanted me to let go of the hope that we would be together. As best friends. As soulmates. As two people who had more than a “thing” for each other.
Choices. We all have them. We don't always like making them. And sometimes, we don't like other people's choices. But then, we have a choice to make. We can move forward. Or we can allow ourselves to be held back by someone else's decision. Either way, it's our choice.
Of course I felt pain because of his choice. And I cried alone many times with no one to wipe my tears. I felt weak and unwanted. I wondered if the words spoken between us were all a lie. I thought, should I have heeded the warnings? And I said to myself, why did you think that you were any different or more special than anyone who came before you? I wondered what was wrong with me that someone could love me so much and then fall out of love so easily. And yes, sometimes anger crept in. I hold people to their words. And I struggle when someone changes their mind. I think we all do.
This man once told me that he's a dreamer and I'm a doer. At that time, I asked him if he could envision spending his life with a doer. He told me that it was very possible. Sometimes I still cling to that word... possible. I guess that makes me a dreamer too. But when I look to my side, and then behind me, I don't even see his shadow.
Can a love letter bring someone back? I've always said that I don't want to be with someone who doesn't want to be with me. We should never settle on spending our days and nights with someone who doesn’t want or love us. I believe in those words. Even though sometimes my emotions fight with that concept.
Love. It can really rip your guts out sometimes. But it can also make your heart smile.
Will this be my last love letter? For now, I think it will be. But sometimes, we all make promises we don't keep.