It’s been a over a year and a half since you shattered my world. A day I thought I’d never have to see again, a day that never compares to the other heartbreaks I’d been through before. Arguably, one of the worst days of my 28 years on earth.
Today I sit in Germany reading and minding my own business. But things of you have been reappearing lately. Perhaps I’ve had too much down time, which I haven’t had in years, because it seems I can’t avoid the thoughts of you.
Remember when we spent Easter at the wildlife farm? I got to feed a giraffe from my hand out of the car and it was one of the coolest days of my life.
Remember that story you loved to tell people? How I hated getting out of bed and one day I tiredly rolled over and instead of “10 more minutes” or “5 more minutes” I asked for one? You loved that story.
Remember how you’d walk in the door every day from work and kiss me hello? And then we’d start cooking every evening together, well, more you than me. But I was a good taste tester. You never argued that.
Remember that time your dog (it was yours, not mine- they’d never hurt an animal and I know we argued of this a lot), but your dog killed that baby bunny and I saved one? But then it died in my hands and I called you just bawling. I let this creature die by holding it and felt so guilty. So you took me to Costco, and we bought massive amounts of paper towels and cleaning supplies and you wouldn’t tell me where we were going. We ended up at a bunny sanctuary out of someone’s house to donate the items. It was the sweetest thing you had ever done to make me feel better. I remember that.
Did you know I knew you were shopping for engagement rings? Of course you didn’t. One day, when you were showing me a message to my mom you wrote trying to get her to come to Vegas because you knew I was sad I’d be missing my first Christmas home, and your screen went blank. I didn’t know how to work an Android, so I pushed a button and went to safari instead of messenger. An engagement ring store popped up from your search. I never looked at the ring, because I wanted it to be a surprise. I later also found out you bought it, but I never told you that either.
Did you know how much I loved you? Did you know sometimes when you were sleeping I’d just watch you, and two times I cried. I cried because I worried since you were a smoker, and your dad died early, that you would die too soon before me and I would have to live without you too long? I couldn’t bare the thought, even 20 years down the road, of ever losing you. God, I loved you so much.
I also never told you, sober, how much you hurt me on a daily basis. I don’t think I knew it then. I thought it was funny you made a Pinterest board called “Things to make my girlfriend looks better”, saving outfits to weight loss recipes to it. I came across that by accident the other week. I realized it wasn’t as much funny as hurtful. Because to me I thought you were joking, I now know it was true.
Remember how you told me I needed help and that so many things were wrong with me? So I started seeing a counselor to try to fix myself, I only ever wanted you, but you said I wasn’t good enough for you– yet- to marry. You loved that line.
I asked you to come one day. And you did. You made it 25 minutes before telling the counselor you didn’t need her and you’d wait in the car for me. Later on, although you swore she was a fake, you’d always throw a line she said in that meeting in my face. “I am culpable for the relationship I stay in’ and I don’t know why I stay with you”. I hated that line. More, I hated I never told you what else she said that same day. I was overweight, unattractive and miserable, your words- and probably true at the time. But it still wasn’t nice. I never said anything to you that wasn’t nice.
After you left, she asked ME why I wanted to be with YOU. “I love him”, I defended you. “He’s good to me. He’s my other half” I assured her, and myself. You were such a catch, so perfect in my blind eyes.
“He’s emotionally abusive. And I’m not allowed to say this on a professional level, but I have to tell you because I care. He is what I could call ’emotionally retarded, he’s showing he’s incapable of true emotions.”
How right she was.
The day you broke my heart I was sitting on the freeway. I had found out you were cheating, as I’d had suspicions for months. But not real suspicions, I didn’t think you were capable of such horrendous things. I thought maybe you were hiding your addiction, and at that time, I wanted that to be the case. You would never do that to me, it just wasn’t possible.
You wouldn’t answer my phone calls. When I asked if we could talk you told me “maybe, I don’t really feel like it.” And there I was, just begging to hear your voice after you had done such painful things.
You must of had a moment of guilt. You finally gave me what I needed. Perhaps it was my text freeing you from it, allowing you an easy out to just tell me, no details, if my suspicions were true. Only asking, pleading, to send a yes or no. And then it finally came.
And that was all you wrote. I sat on Interstate 5 in rush hour traffic with just my thoughts. But the weirdest thing happened.
I didn’t cry.
Not then, anyway. It came later, and in the droves of a Hurricane. But not then. And I think back to that moment to try to remember why I didn’t cry. Did I know? Was I in shock? Or was I.. maybe even relieved a bit?
If that wasn’t the worst, then it would have to be the following two months. Where you never said a goddamn thing. Nearly four years, and I didn’t get an I’m sorry, an explanation, not anything. Just silence, your greatest strength.
And so I sickly moved on. I had to take a leave from work. After 6 days of only crying at my desk, my boss told me to leave, and come back when I could. I flew to Texas. I ran from friends house to friends house, being supported by the people that had picked up your pieces for years.
But then it came, eventually. The explanation, the apology, the perhaps remorse for what you’d done. The realizing the grass, in fact, isn’t always greener. You had made a huge mistake, you said. I had been the best girlfriend a person could ever ask for, and you listed a plethora of qualities you loved of me. You knew better now, you knew what I needed that you didn’t give me then. You could do better now.
But it was too late.
That text came too late. My heart had no more. I think that day, April 19, was the day it died.
So I’ve come all this way. I’ve traveled more than ever before. I’ve met more amazing people than I could’ve hoped. I’ve been loved in ways I didn’t know possible.
But now these weekly memories have been showing up, and I get sad. I can’t figure out why.
I know you are toxic. I know you aren’t “my penguin” anymore. But perhaps I miss that feeling, miss looking at someone and thinking they are the greatest person to ever walk this earth. But I know I can’t feel this way forever. I can’t allow myself to miss someone who never deserved me. And I know it’s time for me to grow, perhaps shed another layer and continue on this road alone. Because being alone is a hell of a lot better than being with someone who makes you feel terrible.
I sometimes wonder why I’ve held on to these so long. Surely, I know, I could never go back to you. Even if my friends and family would allow it, my heart surely wouldn’t. It beats, but hardly to the strength it used to. It couldn’t take another round with you. I wouldn’t survive, I know that.
And if I think a while longer, I believe I know the answer. I don’t worry I’ll find someone to love me someday better than you did. No, I don’t worry of that at all. But I worry I’ll never be able to love the way I did before. Not because you were so special, I realize now. But because gluing pieces of glass back together, still has glue. It’s not the same it ever was before. And I didn’t lose just one broken piece that day, no. It was, undoubtedly, shattered. To a million fucking pieces.
So today I’m doing something I should’ve done a while ago, but had been too hard for me to look at before. The pictures saved on my phone, go. The screenshots I took of anytime you said something nice to me, go. I’d keep those, you know? Because they didn’t come very often. And then when I’d want to be mad or upset with you, I’d read those and tell myself love is the best method, so even though you’d be nasty at times, you didn’t mean it, I’d tell myself. And I they would help me to be kind, always.
I also saved the mean ones. The horribly terrible things you’d say that would make me cry myself to sleep. Alone, of course, because you’d never be there to pick up any mess you made. And when I’d feel like maybe I felt something for someone since you, I’d look at those. Masochist, you might think, but it was to remind me to never put myself in a place to feel that way again. So I’d remind myself, with these, to stay away, to cut it short, to run far far away from any chance of anything. I never wanted to end up driving aimlessly across Texas crying alone in a car again.
I hope you learned your lesson. Because like I told you when you finally surfaced up, I only ever wanted you to be happy. And I forgive you. Find your happiness and don’t break hearts. There’s enough broken in this world. Do better. Love better. Learn your lesson and move forward. You get one life, and I still pray that you find your true happiness, as I have since the day I met you. I’ve never stopped.
But today, today is a day for me to cut another, and hopefully last, piece of you I’ve secretly carried. You are no longer on a pedi stool, or so much beneath me. You are nothing, and nothing to keep me from growing and exploring all aspects of this life I am meant to live.