In the beginning, following the break-up, you think about all the things that went wrong and with time, the hurt and the anger start to diminish. You tuck the memories away, usually in a shoe box for me, and you begin to move on. You start to live life again, have fun and eventually begin to date someone new. You think, I am over it, over HIM and ready for new beginnings.
As you explore a new relationship, with an unfamiliar person, you feel exhilarated and alive and ready for newfangled experiences. You have decided that you are going to give your all to this new person, be everything you weren’t with HIM and be open to the endless possibilities.
But, there are those times that you feel like a familiar ghost is haunting you. One that you cannot seem to let go of. One that was apart of some big moments in your past. One that helped you through some pretty tumultuous stuff that life threw your way. One that also celebrated you when something good happened.
He was everything I regretted. Everything I blamed myself for. Every memory I replayed in my head wondering why things didn’t work out. Eventually, I realized, fixating upon the past wasn’t going to change my future.
As the novelty wore off in my newfound life and reality set in, the occasional disappointments or disagreements would occur and I saw HIM everywhere. I’d think to myself, HE would never treat me like that, or HE would be there for me, or HE really cared about me. In the pieces of myself, I saw him there too.
There are some people who touch you so deeply, even when they exit your life, they are in everything you take with you when you try and move forward. There are some people whose impact is a direct reflection of the person you turn out to be.
HE was no exception to that.
Over time I got used to leading a life without HIM. People stopped asking. People stopped wondering. They ask about your current person. And it is hard to explain something you struggle to understand yourself. In the years we didn’t play a major role in each other’s lives, that lack of closure and lack of understanding left me with an unexplained void I couldn’t find words for.
“You’re so much better off without HIM,” I’d hear on repeat. People try to make you feel good and it’s nice to hear, but you don’t necessarily believe that in your core. You wonder about HIM. Is HE happy? Has HE found someone new? Does HE think about me? Does HE have any regrets? Does HE still love me?
Because what if there are some people you aren’t better off without?
Sometimes I wonder if healing was easier because we removed each other from social media. Erasing every part of our past like it didn’t happen at all. But there is a heartbreak to that too. There is heartbreak to remembering how good things were. Remembering how easily you fit into each other’s lives.
Even when it’s your past you replay in your mind, when enough time has passed, it almost feels like it was someone else’s life you were living.
And just when I thought I was establishing this unique life, beyond HIM .. it happens. Here is the blunt truth about second chances; they rarely happen by chance.
It begins with a follow on social media. Then a message. Then a phone call or two. Finally, the arrangement to meet and see one another again with the thought; “I’ll just see if I still have feelings” or, “maybe we can be just friends”.
When you haven’t seen someone in years you don’t know what to expect. Hundreds of questions danced through my mind. I recall, my closet looked like a bomb went off changing outfits and doing double takes in the mirror.
But even your best outfit. Your best hair day. Your best makeup job doesn’t leave you feeling confident when it’s the one person you want to make an impression on the most.
And there I was standing, in the parking lot, a bundle of nerves heading towards the restaurant, heading towards HIM.
As he approached, I felt a lump in my throat and my palms became sweaty. I saw his smile, that sweet smile he has only for me. Though much time had passed since we last saw each other, there was a comfort and familiarity to one another. A simple embrace that felt like it was everything I had been missing. The handkerchief he pulled out of the top left breast pocket of his suit jacket to capture the tears, because he knows me that well. The conversation that didn’t seem forced or awkward. And all I kept wondering was, after all this time, are we really here having dinner, together?
Here was the one person, who hurt me as much as I hurt him, only this time it didn’t hurt.
I expected to say so much. Instead, it was a mutual exchange of conversation. The truth was, it didn’t matter what happened so long ago, the only thing that mattered was right now in this moment.
I knew to be wary of old flames. I knew to be skeptical of people from my past. But there was something about HIM I trusted. And as we parted ways and he said he’d see me again, I knew he actually meant it.
Sometimes when you want something that badly and you don’t get it, you think it’s never going to happen for you. Then it does and it’s not what you thought it would be, it’s so much more.
What I have learned is sometimes people need to grow a part before they have any chance of growing back together. You see, anyone can catch your eye, but it takes someone special to catch your heart. Sometimes it’s only after you truly lose someone do you understand their value. And if you’re lucky, if you’re really lucky, you find your way back to each other again.