The thing about melancholy is that it hits, and when it does, you’re powerless against it. Oh, you could pretend, but where does pretending get you? There are parts of me that I don’t understand, couldn’t even pretend to understand even if I wanted to. There’s a part of me that’s stuck in a past that’s no longer relevant. A part of me that no longer makes any sense, even though once upon a time, it did.
The thing is, I want to be done with you, I really do, but being done with someone is the same as being done with a book. You don’t just close it and move on. It lingers in your memories, touches your being, surfaces in your subconscious every time you least expect it to.
I took back control by cutting you out of my life, but that’s a tenuous control, and beyond that, it’s a lie. We don’t move on from someone by ignoring them – maybe the problem isn’t trying to move on, or closure, but trying to understand why we loved them… if there’s even a reason at all.
I loved you the way kids idolize things; to me, you were perfection embodied, and I couldn’t believe how lucky I was, that you loved me, that you wanted me. Out of everyone that loved and adored you, I was the chosen one. I didn’t quite understand then that you accept the kind of love you believe you deserve. I didn’t think I deserved you and so I put up with all the dick moves you made because I didn’t want to lose you.
I was fighting a losing battle, even then, I knew, and because I knew, I think I held on too tightly, and maybe I was the reason you were driven away.
Maybe we are only meant to love a little bit at a time. There are people who enter the lives of others and are shooting stars. There are comets like Alaska Young, and then there are the Miles of the world, and you, the beautiful boy I had placed on the pedestal, I thought you were Miles.
My best friend, R, once said under cherry blossoms that I scared her by how easily I could turn my emotions off. Back then, I retorted, I wish I could’ve turned it off for you. I thought I was Alaska, but I was wrong. I was not Alaska, and you weren’t Miles. We weren’t the main characters; we were just footnotes in the grand scheme of our lives.
The day I stopped loving you, was the day you broke my heart. Utterly, wholly and irrevocably – it wasn’t that you wouldn’t fight for me; I had long since resigned myself to it, and long since given up on fighting for you.
The day I let you go was the day I understood that closure is a myth. People don’t move on by hashing things out. You can’t switch your emotions off; there is simply love and loved. I understand that acutely now.
Maybe you loved me in your own warped way the way I loved you in my own warped way; maybe what we had really was love, maybe it wasn’t, what I know now is that the way I loved you would’ve never lasted. It wasn’t real in the sense that real life doesn’t happen when you’re in high school.
When you’re 16, 17, 18, 19, love feels like a hurricane. A volcanic eruption; and in that moment, it’s real.
I loved you, but one day, I woke up and realized that I needed to love myself more; and you were destructive – or I was self destructive – either way I needed to start practicing what I preached, and so I let you go, and realized that maybe the winner isn’t who moves on first, or who lets go faster.
That maybe it doesn’t matter that I think she’s prettier than me, or that he treats me better than you did, maybe the winner isn’t who’s dating someone better, but simply who’s happier.
And I hope you are, just like I hope I am.
I think I’ve been trying to figure out where my life is heading now that I’m older. Now that I’ve got a job, now that I’ve got responsibilities, now that I’ve stopped running away. I think that as an introspective person, the only way I know how to figure things out is by dredging up the memories; examining it so I can try to not make the same mistakes; to learn from my past and review it.
I think the way I love this new him is more guarded; fraught with bitter experience, with anger, with fear, but beyond that, with trust. Maybe it’s because I’m slightly weathered by age; slightly more defeated. Maybe it’s because I’m older that I’m wiser and able to differentiate emotions better. Maybe it’s simply that I’m less emotional; less trusting; less whole. Maybe I finally understand that trust and relationships and love are a gift to be shared, maybe it’s simply that I truly believe that I deserve more now. Maybe because in a way, I know who I am now.
The way I love him is more nuanced. He is not a god and he doesn’t have a pedestal. I love him through the good and bad. I love him through the quarrels and daily petty squabbles. I love him in a way that grows and stagnates and blooms and becomes. But he is not my “life”, so to speak, and it doesn’t burn like my entire being is engulfed. I am not the martyr in this relationship, and neither is he. All I can hope for is a maturity that transcends any past illusion of what I believed love should be.
Some days, I wake up, and wonder if I ever cross your mind when you’re lonely, or if it only happens to me. September brings out my melancholy, and there’s still an empty ache where you used to be, but these are things I’m starting to understand and get over. Just because you remember and hold on to something doesn’t mean that you’re still in love with them. It’s simply because they once meant something and are a part of who you are.
I think maybe I’m musing so much because I’m simply afraid of getting hurt again, but to love is to open yourself to being vulnerable.