I promised you I wouldn’t lie. But it’d be far from the truth if I said that for a better part of a year, I didn’t think about you. I tried. I really did. I forgot your favourite colour was salmon pink. I forgot about your favourite restaurant. But for one reason or another, I could never forget about you.
It’s funny. I can’t remember where we went wrong or what we did right. I do not see you in places or things. I just remember you almost as though you were some vague distant nebula. Maybe that’s why I can’t forget you either – I can’t remember what happened to split us apart. Instead, I just remember you standing over top of me with a smile drawn across your face and my eyes opening and you saying my name and me asking if is this a dream, is this all a dream.
I remember you saying no. I remember a cliff and rocks down below. I remember a beach and a car ride home. I remember three months. I remember a poem. I remember your views on abortion and how long it took to bake a pizza. I remember spilt coffee. I remember a blue dress that looked like a tiger the way it hide in the savanna of a limo. I remember a plastic camera. I remember two bears’ named after sentimental actions. I remember a trip of maturity where boys became men and girls became whatever the next drink had in store. I remember dear john. I remember purple dress and dancing awkwardly around your mom. I remember you going away. I remember your birthday. I remember seventeen real roses. I remember prom, for the most part at least.
I hope you don’t mind me invoking you here and more importantly, I hope you can forgive me for writing again after I penned what I thought was a finality. In a way it was, but I want you to know that this isn’t about us anymore. It stopped being about us when a car door slammed, a world we created shattered, and our shadows left us in the nighttime.
Instead what this is about, what all of this has been about – from my blogposts to my instructions to my open letters – is why others should love. Because in this world, there is nothing more special than being able to fall asleep with someone and know that they will be there the next morning. More than anything, I guess, I am trying to convince others to allow themselves the luxury of love.
As I am writing this, I want you to know that what I said that one day in your car as the air conditioner blasted an exhausted tune and you felt like you were on some other planet because you were so cold, was true. It always is. Always will be. The moment you say you love someone, no matter what happens, no matter how distant the two of you get, you always will.
I could trivialize it with the deranged fanaticism of teenage lust. Believe me – I’ve tried that. To be honest, I never wanted to love you in the first place. I never wanted to feel so vulnerable, so fickle. Your name was never meant to give me chills. I was never meant to be jealous of other people. By the same token, I never wanted to be disgusted by you either. Maybe, though, all those reasons are why I eventually did.
Don’t worry. You and I both know I don’t feel those things anymore. You don’t either. As it always is, things pass, they change, and when it’s all over, all that is left in the aftermath is what we made of it, from the letters to the Crispy Crunch wrappers to these words themselves.
And I think that’s okay. The Romans are survived by the Coliseum, the Egyptians by their pyramids. We have our names drawn onto a barroom napkin and our pictures captured in a blurred photo booth.
After everything, I want people to know that love doesn’t mean regret. When we started, I’m sure you were embarrassed of me. Most likely you still are. But whatever happened and whatever didn’t were some of my better times. I can still imagine myself holding your hand and telling you not to scratch your upper arm and instead scratching it with my arm, lightly, gently, because I like making you happy even if it’s hurting you in the end.
Because that’s love – it’s happiness that hurts.
See, what I want you to know is that to love is to live and to live is to love. If you open your heart, if you allow yourself the magnificence of love, you allow yourself the possibility of being hurt, of disappointment, of jealousy, of hate, of embarrassment, of every bitter sentiment you can imagine. It is a slew of endless fights. It is a flurry of tears. It is a dark night alone, flirting with the despair of the dead.
But at the same time, it is placing a flower in a book and remembering. It is laughing until snot comes out of your nose. It is stealing kiss before class. It writing corny poetry. It is believing in your words when others don’t. It is when words are not good enough. It is planning for a better tomorrow during the worst day. It is imagining forever captured in the empty pages of a journal. It is icecream sundaes and tequila shots. It is handing in assignments late and even then not caring. It is everything that was and everything that we wished it could be. It is and was and always will be us in all our forms, from girlfriend and boyfriend to nothing and nothing and everywhere in between.
But know that love doesn’t mean love, or at least not as I am loosely using the term. My love will be different that yours, and yours from mine. I will not be able to laugh with you and whoever you give your heart to again. My hand will feel different than theirs. Without a doubt, it’s better that way. Change is good, if only for consistency sake.
So while I use experience as my evidence, I want to end with a beginning because love, I’m led to believe, always begins again. You probably know this. So do I. Initially, though, all relationships are scrutinized under the false lens of security from the past relationship. I have failed countless times because of such inevitable juxtapositions. I wish I was more mature at the time to realize this but until recently, I’ve been stifled by my cowardly persona. To those I’ve hurt, I’m sorry, and even that may not be enough.
But to those people and to myself and to you yourself and to anyone else who will ever read this, know that love just takes timing and practise. It takes patience. It takes stargazing. It takes long boarding in the night. It takes a swim in a polluted lake. It takes pasta and garlic bread and mixing up heaven with the earth. Most of all, it takes a person you can call pretty in a different language.
For when Cupid’s arrows run out, you’ll have to find your own and wedge them where you want. You will have to begin again because your heart beats on, and no matter if it feels broken, no matter if you feel worse than that, your heart is a muscle and it can never, ever be still.