I wish I would have gotten to you before they did.
The liars, the cheaters, the ones who didn’t know what they wanted. The girls who clutched your gentle and pliable heart and were so very reckless. The girls who didn’t know what they had.
I wish to see you and love you without all that unnecessary fear, anxiety and doubt that you’ve downloaded over the years. I want to love that young heart that’s naive, full of hope and lucidity.
It’s tucked in there somewhere, but me, I only get glimpses.
I only get to fantasize about how you used to love.
I long to say “I love you” without your mind becoming muddled with, “Yeah, but why? Yeah, but for how long? Yeah, but what do you want?”
Those thoughts must be soul crushing. I wish I could have been there before they moved into the cage in which your heart now resides.
Those damn girls before me loved you for the wrong reasons. They left you before you were ready. They took more than they gave. They didn’t tell you the truth.
And now they’ve molded how you interpret words of affection and praise.
I would have gotten such a charge out of worshiping you. Doting on your heart, soul and body when you could truly enjoy it—before you learned that sometimes love isn’t real. Before you found out that sometimes it ends badly.
How thrilling to give you pleasure without you wondering what my intentions are or what I’m expecting in return.
I would have relished in your naivety, your optimism and your courage to love with abandon.
I would have loved you unabashedly, and you would have blindly danced in it. We would have floated together effortlessly in love’s warm ocean of trust, assurance and bliss. Oh, you wouldn’t have known any different!
In an instant I’d trade in your wisdom, your experience and your maturity to be the one that loved you first—to be the one that programmed your heart to know and expect unconditional love. If I could go back and be your first girlfriend I would imprint on your heart memories that were honest, carefree and pure.
I would show you your worth from my perspective and wow what a view. I would have told you how perfect you were and you would have had no doubt that it was the truth.
I would have painted you in red-hot love dripping with acceptance, honesty and ecstasy, and you would have said, “I guess this is what love is!”
And I would have replied, “Yes, and this is exactly what you deserve.”
What’s left of you now is someone who is afraid and calculated in love. Some of your past relationships proved to be artificial, greedy and unbalanced. Instead of being present with me, the fingers of your heart file through these experiences looking for clues.
You wonder which girl I most resemble.
Will I be like the one who was unfaithful? Will I be like the one who used you?
Your young, gooey heart is still in that big, beautiful chest. I know it’s there. But it’s shivering, hardened a bit and covered in cheap tape. I wish I could have met your heart before it went through the proverbial love wringer.
Maybe we need erroneous experiences in love to mold our hearts into wise and mature muscles of depth and wisdom. And I know you still would have gotten played a few times after me, but if I could have been your first, I know I could have changed your love trajectory.
The wrong ones would have still slipped into your life (they will always find a way), but my program would have already been installed. If I would have gotten to you first, your foundation would have been made of concentrated, concrete rapture.
You would have seen heartbreak as a glitch instead of the norm.
But alas, back to reality.
I have you now.
I’m loving a person who seems to like keeping their heart in a cage, who thinks love is a game you can’t win and who would rather hide their love away than be vulnerable and naked in romance. Not feeling so confident that my love (as enormous as it is for you) is capable of overriding your past.
In all honesty, time travel seems more promising than that.
Author: Lealyn Poponi
Editor: Toby Israel
Photo: Sandra Druschke/Flickr