When you love and get hurt, you cope how you cope.
That is the justification I gave. That is what I told myself as I became this new person after I lost you. I was nineteen, grossly young, and certainly too young to be walking around talking about dying alone, or at least dying surrounded by emotional support cats.
To handle the pain I was dealing with, I partied, I drank, and I did things I'm not proud of. I became the person you, the boy I loved so fiercy, were. Maybe then, I thought, you would love me. Maybe you would come back.
Spoiler alert: you didn't, have yet to, and never will. But, you know what? That's okay, because what I have learned from the past two years without you is far beyond what I would have gained.
I loved you so much. I told you that all the time. But there was one night last year at three a.m. when I couldn't sleep that I couldn't stop thinking about that, how much I loved you. I asked myself why, and then starting thinking about all of your little quirks and laughed. I thought about the way you loved your mother and started to cry. I thought about the way you loved me and then just got angry. It was all of those things rolled into one that made me love you so much that nothing else mattered. Maybe that's why I got angry: I loved you so much that nothing else mattered, and I would have done anything for you.
I would have dropped out of school and stayed in our dead-end hometown if it meant keeping you.
But you knew that. And that is why you left. You wanted me to be better. Of course you did. You were always my biggest cheerleader.
You left because you had searching of your own to do. You couldn't do that alongside me, and you knew I could be who I was meant to be alongside you.
Thank you for knowing what was best for me, even if I couldn't see it myself. I have found love again, and then lost that too, only to think about calling you, and asking you what comes next because you always know.
Being in a town that has no traces of you was liberating. It was what I needed, more than you will ever know.
Thank you for pushing me toward it.