If You Hadn’t Beaten Me To It, I Would’ve Never Given Up On You.

I’ve never been someone who lets things go too gracefully. I replay the past like it’s some old tune I swear I don’t like, yet I keep pushing replay. I hold on to every letter. I don’t delete the texts, untag, or erase pictures. I look back more than I look ahead.

When I think about you and how it ended, sometimes I wonder where we would be if we got it right. If goodbye wasn’t said. If the words “I love you” weren’t taken back as if they could even be forgotten.

I would have never given up on you if you hadn’t beaten me to it.

Hot tears. Weeping. A dreadful goodbye. An ending I wasn’t ready for. But when I think of you, I don’t think how it ended.

You ask me what I remember, I’ll always say the little things.

You asked me what I remembered most and I’ll always say the little things: The kiss on my forehead as I was still sleeping. The note on a napkin I found in a textbook. The leather jacket I swore I hated but always looked for in a crowded room. The toothbrush you bought me because I stayed at your place more than mine. The mornings you’d tuck my hair behind my ear and the words “beautiful” sounded like I heard it for the first time. The blue sweatshirt I’d wear as I got up in the middle of the night. The only lie I ever told because you never showed up on time for anything. The nights where you asked me to slow dance in the kitchen with dim lights that flickered. And the song I still can’t fully listen to without stopping. The flowers I’d come home to. Even though I liked white roses more than red. The bar downtown we spent probably too much time and money at. The place we went to on our first date and how you didn’t kiss me because you were so sick, but didn’t want to cancel. The look across the room as if we were the only ones there speaking a dialogue all our own. The key you left under the mat bc your home became mine. The friends that welcomed me and how I blushed the first time I heard them say, “he’s told us so much about you.” The nights where we’d stay up talking about everything. Because 3am does that to a person. The political debates we’d have and the moments neither of us would back down, because we were both a little stubborn. The books you made me read. The shows you made me watch. The things you made me try. The things I learned because of your love alone. You challenged me. Because we came from two very different lives and I think that’s what I liked. “She thrived because of him, she came back a different person. He taught her to grow up a bit in ways even years and time passing couldn’t,” I overheard my mom say. So when I talk about love, I have that to compare it to. A story you let me write as I took your hand as we each fumbled for words but all that came out was, “I love you” not to be taken back or ever forgotten.

It was in you I found everything that was missing. The love that came to life as I wondered if something like that could even exist.

I found myself in moments of disbelief looking at you. Have you ever had a moment you knew you would miss once it ended? A person you looked at and you knew you’d look for them in everyone else after? Overcome by bittersweet emotions of trying to appreciate the moment, but knowing you were someone I was going to lose at the end.

I didn’t look ahead. Instead, I looked into your eyes and learned to appreciate moments and minutes and what is not what was going to be lost.

I stood in the hallway overhearing a conversation. You didn’t know I was listening.

“She’s the one,” And I believed you.

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What Love Really Means…

“I love you” aren’t just three words mumbled before you hang up the phone.

Love is picking up at 3am, even though you were sound asleep and not getting mad because the other person is beside themselves after something that went wrong that day.

Love is being able to hate someone who hurt them even if they can’t seem to do it themselves.

Love are the fights and the disagreements that arise and no matter how mad one person might be, you find a resolution. It’s the apology, even if you aren’t the one that’s wrong because you just want to move forward.

It’s walking away sometimes when you’re mad, but never for good.

It’s not just rich or poor. It’s not just through sickness and health. It’s not just for good times and in bad. It’s through all of it.

It’s being their strength when they have fallen. It’s the faith you have in them when they start to doubt themselves. It’s looking at yourself and seeing parts of them there. It’s looking at this other person and realizing they know you better than you know yourself sometimes.

It’s a connection that never seems to fade because despite how you’ve each grown, you’ve also grown together.

Making each other the best versions you could be. The right type of love does that.

You look at someone and you realize there isn’t anything you wouldn’t do for them. There isn’t anything you wouldn’t be for them. Because so much of your life and your happiness includes them.

It’s that moment something good happens and they are the first you want to tell. And when something bad happens, they drop what they are doing to be by your side. Here’s this person who can make you laugh when you didn’t even think you could smile again.

Someone who can hear the tone of your voice and know what you’re feeling before you’ve explained it.
Someone who doesn’t need to ever explain anything because they are in your corner and they will always fight for you.

“I love you” aren’t just three words mumbled before bedtime, it’s laying next to someone and feeling whole for the first time. It’s waking up next to them and imagine doing it for the rest of your life.

It’s looking at them and they are the closest thing to perfect you’ve ever seen. Even their flaws you’ve fallen in love with. Because even if you could change them, you wouldn’t.

It’s their vices, their flaws, and the wrong choices they make sometimes but you choose to stay with them through it.

You still question how you got so lucky. How you stumbled into each other’s lives. Here’s this person that made you believe in love and soul mates when you doubted it.

They take the burdens of your past and feel with you through the pain. They push you to let go of all those things that weren’t even baggage of yours to carry, but someone gave it to you like you were to blame. As you let go of all of that. They hold on tighter.

Love is this person who sees things you can’t because you have blinders on. Whether it’s in toxic relationships or questionable choices. They push you to become better without wanting to change you. With pure motives of just helping you to learn.

Love is the conversations that aren’t easy to have, but you work through it. The things you admit to them you can’t even say to yourself sometimes. And they don’t ever say I told you so. It’s vulnerable moments when they were right and they just hold you.

It’s the projected anger you put towards them at times, but they understand it isn’t about them.

It’s compromises you have to make. The faith in another person and this life you want to build, even though it scares you.

It’s looking at someone and you love them, value them, and adore them so much you can’t even imagine the state you’d be in if you lost them. So you do everything to ensure that doesn’t happen.

You look at this person and you see the mother or father of your kids. And you know because of them, kids that don’t even exist are going to turn out okay. Even if you mess up.

And through it all, you’ll hold the same hand as it wrinkles with age and you envy your youth, but here you are with someone who is the greatest love story you’ve ever known.

It’s the milestones you overcome. And you think back to when you first met and how things would be different if you never did.

From that first kiss to that first date. To every anniversary. And every holiday. And the family that became your own. The graduations, celebrations, and first jobs. Saving for this life you want together. The boxes you carried as you moved into your first place. The question on one knee everyone was waiting for. The walk down an aisle you wondered would ever happen. The baby’s room that comes together and that call that changed everything.

Love isn’t just about finding the right person.

Because we can all fall in and out of love dozen of times in our life but when you find the right person, it’s no longer just your happiness you care about, but theirs.

It’s the promise to never give up on them either.

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