Two years later and two cocktails in, I’m at a dive bar listening to an apology I never thought I’d hear. It was as raw and genuine as I had always imagined it would be. But as time had passed, feelings dissolved into the thin air of what can only be gained with time: irrelevance.
There he was, right where I had always wanted him to be. He apologized for everything that went awry covering all the things he wished he did and didn’t say, those same words that struck me more than I’d ever like to admit. Yet the apology I had longed for and was finally 100% ready to accept somehow left me more unsettled than never having heard it in the first place. I found myself feeling the slightest bit satisfied and yet somehow completely underwhelmed all at once.
But that’s just the thing – it always starts out the same.
Maybe you were in love, or maybe it was lust at first sight. Maybe it was a goodbye you never thought you’d have to say. One way or another, something or someone came to an end in your life. There was an expiration date you weren’t anticipating, or maybe it’s just that you weren’t ready or willing to accept it. You just didn’t see it coming to an end and even if you did, being ready to say goodbye doesn’t make it hurt any less, does it?
Maybe it’s not so much about realizing that something or someone is over, but rather the gravity those words can hold. Knowing that no matter what has been said and done, it’s over.
Sometimes those words carry a weight that can feel like it’s fallen upon your shoulders, breaking the heart you mask with a sheer and deceiving look of indifference you constantly wear on your face. You’re doing everything in your power to magically make those unrequited feelings and missing closure vanish away, and in doing so, you arrive to a conclusion you had to gather by yourself. It’s the cliché you hate to love: Everything happens for a reason.
You take that and yet you still feel livid, frustrated, and empty… and you have no idea why.
Because if you’re anything like me, the only thing more frustrating than accepting the reality that everything happens for a reason is facing the fact that despite knowing and holding onto that truth, sometimes it still doesn’t feel like enough. Sometimes it still doesn’t fill the void you were looking and hoping to resolve. Sometimes it doesn’t hand you that cut and dry conclusion you were looking for all along, as to why whatever happened happened in the first place.
But what I’m realizing is that this vicious spiral of knowing that everything happens for a reason can be put to rest once we can differentiate the significance of a purpose versus a reason in our lives.
The reasons may spell out the x, y, z to why whatever happened came about in the first place but the purpose of it all is what we should really be taking away from these trial and tribulations. The reality is, sometimes we won’t ever get the words that spell out whatever reasons we’re longing for. But despite the possibility of never gaining that, we can always at the very least take away the purpose these situations serve in our lives.
Yes everything happens for a reason but no, we don’t have to pull our hair out trying to figure out why.
Sometimes it’s just a matter of accepting what can’t be undone and taking it, learning from it, and accepting it for what it is. Getting caught up in this spiral of searching for all the answers as to why everything happens for a reason will only leave us spinning in circles if we can’t accept what’s right in front of us.
Sometimes it’s as simple as leaving things exactly how they were while coming to terms with what they are, and what they will always be.
After he said his apology, we closed our tabs as we drank to our vulnerability on the rocks. He signed his name on the dotted line; we found peace with what we had once left behind. Then he waited for me as I hailed a cab, and the next morning, I was back to where I started.
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