“What are those voices outside love’s open door
Make us throw off our contentment
And beg for something more?”
~ Don Henley, “The Heart of the Matter”
I bit my lip. I kept my mouth shut. I was mute, but I was thinking.
About us and how it all went sour.
I was silent. I bottled and stuffed and contained. I quietly let you end it.
When it happened, I wanted to say how much you hurt me. I wanted to lay blame and shout and stomp and slam doors. But I went numb instead of feeling it. I am disappointed by the lack of closure you left me carrying. You gave me a heavy bag of emptiness to drag around.
I wish you really knew me. I struggle because I realize now how you saw right through me. I was a habit you couldn’t break, until you did—cold turkey. I wish you had a beating heart—like mine.
It was always about you. This is a sad fact, one that took a long time to register. You may find someone else to love, and she will surely find out the hard way, like I did, how easy it is to love you back, until you flip. Until you lose interest, yet keep her guessing.
You told me I set myself up for disappointment when it came to you. You told me, callously, that you did not have time for me, nothing to spare. You kept reminding me that you were just being honest. I stayed anyway, and I lived on the scraps and crumbs of your infrequent attention because I thought my love would help you change.
My emotions have run amok with this, but now it’s time to talk about forgiveness.
I forgive you for turning cold and cruel and distant. For your sudden discard. Your blatant disregard.
I forgive you for not giving our connection the respect it deserves. Not everyone has the emotional maturity to clearly articulate feelings, or has the skill set to do so compassionately—so I forgive you for taking the easy way out. For being stoic instead. It’s what you know.
I forgive you for making we wait. For not acknowledging my messages, both hidden and in plain sight. This is your way of dealing. Perhaps ignoring me is your way of healing.
I forgive you for being broken before I met you. For being too young. For being jaded. For making stupid, impulsive decisions. For closing the door on our future. For hurting yourself. You will change. It will come in time. You are too smart not to learn and grow and evolve, but I won’t be there to watch it happen.
I forgive you for pulling me back in all the times I tried to let go. I saw what was happening, and I was honest with you—but you couldn’t let me leave. You held on to feed your ego. And you fed my need to feel needed. You felt alone. You liked having a sounding board. You wanted someone to talk to.
I’m sorry you don’t know how to be a friend. I tried to teach you. I was generous to a fault—with everything—but it didn’t stick.
I forgive your anger, your frustration, your loneliness, your lofty ideals.
Our situation was never ideal.
This we always knew.
I forgive you for treating me like nothing now. Like I never meant anything to you at all. I forgive you because I know that’s not the truth.
You said I was a liar. You lied too.
We certainly did some lying at the beginning, when we carefully presented our very best, affable, attractive selves. Neither one of us knew that our flirtation and straight-up soul connection would grow to what it became. It was a natural thing. On its best day, it was perfect. This is the truth.
In a perfect world we would’ve been perfect together. We would have made each other laugh. We would have fed each other’s souls, and helped each other and learned from each other. We would have grown old holding hands.
Our bond was passionate and strong and unpredictable. We didn’t always agree. We didn’t mind a good argument. I liked our sparks, the way you stuck to your convictions on certain issues, the way I could always count on you to be blunt and raw. I realize now that you always counted on me to be the kinder one, to acquiesce, to step back, and let you take the floor, to let your words and ideas dominate the atmosphere while mine drifted into the background.
I was the perfect partner for you in many ways. Until I wasn’t.
I forgive your madness. Your sadness. Your hollow insides—carved out by someone else.
I forgive you for putting so much distance between us to save yourself.
You are someone I will always love.
I forgive you for not acknowledging your part, for pretending that your part of our combusted experiment, the one where two souls collided and burned to the ground, does not exist.
And, even though it’s difficult, I forgive you for vilifying me.
I forgive you, but now it’s time to say goodbye and move on.
Because I forgive myself for loving you.