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.