“He never asked you to dwell on him.”
So why was I?
That text and a glass of merlot later, there it was. Those dauntingly honest words flashing as bright as neon lights in front of my eyes. The unavoidably bleak and blatantly obvious conclusion that deep down, I had always known all along.
If you’re like me, when you don’t get direct closure, you play out every possible scenario like a movie reel running through your head. You dissect every second of every minute of every moment until you can finally arrive to some sort of conclusion that will leave you settled, or at least as settled as you can be.
I remembered the night I came home from the bus ride from hell, and how I came home to you, a BBQ bacon cheeseburger, and sweet nothings that left me sleeping so soundly that night. It was the way you always called me pretty when I least expected it, and how it always made me feel: caught off-guard and in a vulnerable place of unknown territory and refreshingly requited feelings.
But then I remembered how “pretty” was never “beautiful.” I remembered how despite how much I loved your company and how much you made me laugh like a lunatic, there would be moments where I would question if we were it. “It” being a place that for one reason or another left me unsettled with a feeling in the pit of my stomach that I could never quite explain.
Because despite the way I loved holding your hand, in the back of my mind, I would constantly question if your hand was truly the right fit for mine. I remember the way you would kiss me goodbye and how sometimes I’d feel nothing, which led me to wonder if the whole butterflies phenomenon was just something we hyped up. Maybe I was expecting far too much.
But when it was all said and done, we both found ourselves doubting whether there was a spark between us. Yet once the flame went out on your terms, suddenly I was heart-wrenchingly hung up on an expiration date I practically saw coming. I couldn’t let go and I had no idea why.
Once you were gone, I was back to where I had started: a naive New York City transplant faking it until I was making it in a dream job I questioned every day whether I deserved to have or not, with the constant fear that I could lose this position at any given moment.
That’s where you came into the picture. You would call me pretty and make my world seem nothing short of that. All of a sudden, my life consisted of nothing more than rainbows and miniskirts when I was with you.
That’s just it.
Dating you bridged the gap between my reality and my expectations for myself.
It wasn’t you I’m dwelling on. It’s what you were to me.
Suddenly, dating wasn’t this all-consuming quest to find love. It was safety. It was security. I was dating because it was a way to face the void of uncertainties in my own life I was too scared to face on my own.
I’m still that wide-eyed, terrified, naive New York City transplant, but I always was, with or without you. And with that, this is exactly how I’ll let you go.
Image credit: Unsplash