We probably all grew up with happily-ever-after stories.
The heroes face some challenges, master them and as a reward, life turns into everlasting peaceful bliss. More or less consciously, we believe those stories, underlined by the pictures that the media paint for us.
People are talking about “the one” or how not to waste time with “the wrong partner” but to “hold out for the right one”.
But then real life hits us and we feel broken. I’m walking, running and stumbling away from a beautiful but co-dependent ten-year relationship—with a lot of images haunting me about how life is supposed to be. But some things just have to happen for one reason or the other.
Dear past Love,
We haven’t had any contact in a long time. Our lives used to revolve around each other and now I don’t even know how or what you’re doing. I’m not even in the same country anymore because I had to leave the past behind. Yet there are still a lot of things I’d like you to know.
I miss you a lot in my life.
I am not saying that I would want to go back at this point, but I do remember all the beautiful things we did together. All the challenges we mastered. All the brilliant moments we shared. I was happy most of the time, despite this big elephant in the room.
I miss the perfect weekend breakfasts in the morning—sun on the balcony overlooking the city and having a good conversation.
I miss the rare moments we spent together at the beach talking.
I really miss the conversations we had in general.
I miss watching TV with you, even though your favorite shows drove me nuts sometimes.
I even miss going grocery shopping together.
I miss the dreams we had together and it hurts. When we left home to find a new life half way around the planet we missed the same things and we shared the same story of success. We had built ourselves a bright future and we were looking forward to it.
But at the same time we felt so awfully stuck.
I do remember all the things I missed back then, too. I know how they used to drive me plain mad and I know they would again. By now I’ve realized that I missed even more things than I was aware of back then.
We put up a big sign “Here be dragons!” and refused to go near that scary place. With every fight we would end up in that dark corner, up to our necks in the depths of neglected emotions. But we never really tried cleaning up because we just had no idea how to.
I know I screwed up as much as you did.
Not that it would matter now—but I’m learning so much about the mistakes we made and I want you to know that I’m sorry. It’s a tough process realizing it all and I’m having a hard time forgiving my past self for not knowing what it couldn’t possibly know back then.
It just seems so unfair that at some stage the only way to learn what we had to learn was to break up and go our separate ways. It feels as if we never had a chance. There’s this image in my head, the dream of what could have been if only we had known. I’m pretty sure it’s just an illusion but sometimes I’m having a hard time letting it go.
Remember how we used to say “we can do anything together”? In the end we couldn’t find ourselves together.
I guess I just want to tell you that I am very grateful for those 10 years.
They were good.
I wouldn’t have done half of what we did had I been on my own.
I know I won’t get back the things we had but I’ll always have the wonderful memories. I’ll try not to be greedy about getting more of them. I know I will always miss them because nobody could do them the same way you did but that’s not a bad thing. That’s what you’ve left in my life and I will appreciate it.
You know, you were wrong when you said that guys are replaceable for girls, and I am not looking to replace you.
I truly wish you all the happiness in the world and that your fears about future relationships won’t come true. That you can forgive your past self, too. That, in time, you will find the perfect girl for you and love that will be everything that ours couldn’t be in the end.
That you will find joy without the fear of losing it all.
That you will be able to believe and feel enough.
Thank you for going such a long way with me. You will always be part of my story and you will always have a place in my heart. And who knows, maybe one day we’ll meet again in Alaska or Patagonia—as two completely different persons.
I’m still wondering sometimes, if and how things could have been different if we had tried just a little bit longer. If I really couldn’t have learned just a little bit more—just enough to get us back on track. If there really was no other way I could have learned what I know now.
But thoughts like these are destructive.
Some problems are impervious as long as we’re a part of them, even if they look painfully clear once we see them from outside.
It can be hard not to fall into the trap of judging my past self from the perspective of my present knowledge. After all, I needed my past self to go through all this and make all those mistakes to arrive at the point where I am now. There are no shortcuts in life but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing—the journey is the reward anyway.
And I’m pretty sure a happily-ever-after would get darn boring pretty quickly anyway.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Apprentice Editor: Jess Sheppard/Editor: Rachel Nussbaum