A short letter to every relationship, romantic or otherwise, that ended as I was trying to forgive myself.
This house we built with all of its gardens and cobwebs we no longer knew how to tend to is haunted. The shutters we painted are dry and cracking under the incessant sun. The flowers we grew together died thirsty. I wish I knew how to lay among them and finally know peace. Wish I learned how to give life to who we once were because maybe then I wouldn’t be writing this memoir of a letter. Wish I taught myself balance and got up on a ladder to clear out the gutters. Wish I hadn’t relied on you for happiness without relying on myself first and wish I hadn’t closed the window on us much sooner than you had out of protection. Wish I hadn’t been so selfish in the same way I wish you hadn’t been, too. There’s so much I seem to wish for, none more so than wishing you knew how much you meant to me and how hard it is for me to let you go. Wish I wasn’t wishing so much but here we are.
In a couple years time, amidst the longest rainstorm of the decade, I’ll go for a walk down that same avenue we used to call home and I’ll stop in front of the red door with fresh eyes. I’ll remember how I once woke up one morning and texted my best friend, asking them if they’ve ever just knew in their bones how sure they were of something like love. I’ll remember their response and carry it in my gut. I’ll scale the tough exterior of us one last time before I move on, knocking on the window knowing full well that nobody is on the other side to answer. I’ll lift myself through the opening of us, curtains wide open so as to let the rain in, and give myself permission to remember. Even haunted houses still stand no matter how cursed. I’ll lay one last time and hold my own hand. Cover my own heart. Take some deep breaths. And not let it be lost on me that a place we once shared is empty now. Rain pitter-pattering the floorboards beneath me, I’ll stay up as late as I can to watch the world go dark.
I will dream about that song that plays in every movie I love just before the storyline breaks towards resolution. It’s the culmination of the entire plot coming to a standstill, suspended in the air, first a low hum and then growing deeper and louder, similar to the ways love grew in our front yard. I’ll be reminded of how my fever for you broke in the night, just before dawn, and how, just like that, I knew I wouldn’t regret loving anyone, perhaps especially if the story doesn’t end the way we hoped it might. We do not have to be each other’s person to recognize some stories aren’t meant for us.
When I wake in the morning, I’ll rise, ignoring the pool I step into and finally let go of who you are to me, who you used to be, and who I wished so hard for you to become. I’ll apologize one last time for every bit of heartache I caused and will turn off all the lights, forgiving you in the same breath. In the silence, I will whisper, “you were the sweetest thing. I’ll never forget.” I’ll put on my jacket and take it all in: there was a before you and there will be an after. And I’ll love you just the same as we become strangers again, closing the door behind me one last time before I go.