It was a chilly January evening when I thought of you.
A couple holding hands passed by me as I walked the busy streets alone. Although I was enjoying my solitude that night, I wondered why I wasn’t holding your hand. For a second, I forgot why you aren’t with me to share my happiness. I forgot why we are separated and only remembered how much I’ve missed you.
For a fleeting moment, my hands yearned to be held. The natural swinging movement of my arms while walking suddenly stopped. I walked aimlessly with an empty and puzzled mind.
Sometimes, a nostalgic longing overcomes me. I remember the days when we were that couple who held hands, and wish we could get back together and intertwine our fingers again.
But as I imagine us back together, I realize that I don’t want to be with you. The longings that take over me from time to time stem from a selfish place, one that wants to possess you. As soon as those longings dissipate, the self that authentically loves you shines through.
I don’t want to be with you—not because I don’t love you, but because I love you so much that I don’t want you anymore.
My love for you has become like my love for flowers. I used to pluck flowers because I loved them so much. When I was a kid, I made dozens of tulip and daisy bouquets. As I grew up, I realized that my love for flowers was selfish. I plucked them only to enjoy them for a few days, and then watched them as they died.
Now I know that if I truly love something, I shouldn’t interfere with its growth and beauty. My love for flowers has become genuine because I let them be and still love them from afar.
I love you so much that I want to let you be. If we get back together, the factor of uncertainty will emerge. Just as there’s a chance for things to go perfectly right, there’s also a chance for things to go completely wrong.
Because this is what relationships are about—you don’t know what’s waiting for you. And the unknown terrifies me.
What if we emotionally destroy each other?
What if routine puts an end to our passion?
What if we change?
What if I lose you again?
The truth is, I don’t want to risk our annihilation. I don’t want a relationship to ruin the beautiful present that we have. And although my present is filled with your absence, it’s safe and certain. I’d rather not have you at all, than to be with you again and worry whether you’ll stay or not.
In your absence, I’m able to love you the way you are—without changing you. In your absence, I can rise above neediness and selfishness. I can wish you the best, knowing that I’m not part of it. I can think of you holding hands with someone else and feel happy only because you might be as well.
I love you so much that I don’t want to fit our love into a box. I want our love to stay free and boundless. I don’t want it to fall under any label or be defined by trivial words. And most importantly, I want our love to stay a happy memory.
And although you might call this love of mine bizarre, I call it honest. Let’s keep this love wild and free—let’s not cage it. If we cage it, we might never find the key again to escape.
Perhaps you think this love of mine is weak, but it has never been stronger. The weak lover tends to chain his beloved. The strong lover sets his beloved free and knows that physical presence isn’t what defines true love.
My hands will always yearn to be held by yours, but I’ll manage to put them in my pockets and resume walking.
I love you so much that I feel you with me, even when you’re not.
Author: Elyane Youssef
Editor: Nicole Cameron