A little more than four years ago, I wrote the following email to a friend. I'd just gotten back from a visit I hadn't enjoyed nearly as much as I should have. I wanted to try explain to her why that was, hoping she'd forgive me for not having at all been at my best.
It's like a dull agony.
Using his words, I feel like we never had the chance we deserved... and we should have been great. Even what he ruined was great. But that was so, so, so long ago. I shouldn't care this much. And before 2012, I could call myself crazy when I thought that I was still in love with him. I could convince myself I was misinterpreting my monogamist tendencies for believing that he could still care about me and that we could could still work just as well.
Now I can't. Because when I was talking with him and we were spending time together and I didn't know about her, it was just as great. The magic, the spark, whatever special thing it is that we had, it was there still. And he felt it, too. I know he did. He said so. And at the end of the day that's what made most of everything he did and said in January so mean. You don't just share those feelings with someone you're unwilling and unable to be with. Especially when you know they feel just as strongly. Especially when you are and have been sharing yourself with someone else.
Trouble is, I'm not angry anymore. I want to be, I try to be even, but I'm not . . . and as much as 99.9% of me wants to forget and let go and move to Paris and go on with my life and find success, love, everything else I want... I miss him so much I don't want to stop missing him. In a way, in this small insignificant way, he's still with me.
Almost immediately after sending, I decided to let the feelings be. If I couldn't eliminate them by force, I sure as hell could ignore them. So I lived as fully as possible. I came to Paris to study and I opened up my heart again. I all but forgot about this ex that'd left such a mark. Then he sent me an email. He was wondering if there was a possibility we could catch up while I was home for the holidays. It'd been so long. It had. Yet as soon as I heard from him (almost two years since I'd told him not to contact me anymore), I was paralyzed with fear. I stepped outside. I called a friend. I called another friend. After more sleepless nights than I'd like to admit, I decided I would meet with him, if and when he reached out again in New York. It had been so long. It'd probably be fine.
But it wasn't.
It was more than fine actually. And he wasn't with that girl anymore. And, amazingly, that special whatever-it-was we'd shared so long ago was still very much there. I cautiously let myself get carried away with the buried hope that maybe we'd work out after all.
We won't though. We won't because he was with another someone this time. Someone who may not have been "his girlfriend", but who thought she had meant that much. She said so in the email I received anyway. And once this news settled in, I realized I didn't want to miss him. Not anymore. And for the first time I wholeheartedly believed I didn't have to. Along came grace, and relief, and closure. I'm grateful to have not once let him hold me back; and I'm grateful to have let him in again, too. Now I'm strong enough to let go.