I remember when all of this started. I couldn't have predicted you if I'd tried. I was so focused on myself that it took me a while to even admit I was interested in you. You were the one I didn't see coming, and then before long, you were the one I couldn't imagine leaving.
I'll be honest. I lied to myself and to everyone else for a long time. “We aren't anything serious," I'd say. “I'm just having fun." How stupid was I to think that I could resist getting caught up in you? Those months that we spent together were some of the best of my life. I didn't think it was possible for someone to make me laugh like you did, to make me feel the way you did. You brought out a side of me I had never seen before, and even though that scared me, I didn't want it to stop.
You had me so fooled.
One day, just like that, you were gone, and before I knew it I couldn't even recognize myself anymore. I couldn't imagine how someone I had given so much to could just leave like that and not even look back. The months after that was a string of waking up and losing you all over again, telling my friends I was fine one second and crying to them the next. And the second I started thinking I was OK, I saw you again. We talked, I cried, I yelled, you cried, you yelled, and for a couple of weeks I pretended that everything would be OK, and you really meant it this time and we would make it. But just like before, it wasn't real.
Realizing that took me longer than I'd like to admit, but this is what I need you to know: I'm moving on. Finally, after months of dialing your number just to talk myself out of it, I can say that I'm moving on. I won't listen to sad songs anymore. I won't look at our pictures and re-live the days we spent together. I'm erasing every trace of you. I'm smiling brighter, I'm laughing louder, and if it's the last thing I do, I swear I'll find something that's better than what we had.
That's not to say that your memory won't knock the breath out of me on a Tuesday afternoon when our song comes through my headphones. That's not to say that I won't remember the promises you made me and want to scream at myself for ever believing you. But the difference is that I'll recognize the pain in those memories, and then I'll set them down and walk away. Because I'm done carrying them with me and I'm done giving you that power over me.
So don't call me up someday when I've finally forgotten your laugh, don't think about me at all if you can help it. You lost that right when you made the choices you did. This isn't some stupid love story we'll tell later down the road about how we beat the odds and came through stronger on the other side. This is done, do you understand? I'm finally done.
Years from now I'll look back on the adventures we had and laugh at how crazy we were. I'll remember the fierce happiness I felt while we were running wild together and I'll be grateful for this because it has molded me in ways I can't begin to explain. Someday I'll tell my daughter about you and pray that she learns from my mistakes, and when that day comes I'll wonder where you are and genuinely wish you the kind of happiness that I will have found.
I know you'll never read this. But I'll read this, on those nights when it feels like everything is starting to fall apart. Again and again and again, I'll read this and remind myself of the promise I'm making at this very moment, to look forward and stop letting your memory dictate my happiness. Someone wise once said, “Suddenly you'll just know, that it's time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings." Well, I'm trusting that this was just one short chapter of my book, and this is me turning the page.
On to the next.