Above: my attempt to capture on canvas all the warmth, love, and strength I felt being in your arms.
"Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay."
I didn’t imagine you would stay.
Why would you? You were a confident, worldly, handsome man of twenty-four; I was an awkward, depressed, bitter girl of seventeen. You loved craft beer; I had never consumed alcohol. You had seen and done so many things; I could barely make it through each day.
But you did stay. Friendship turned to ambiguity turned to relationship and still, you stayed. Your brash facade turned to vulnerable affection and still, you stayed. You lost friends, lost a job and the community therein, and still, you stayed. You endured four parents grilling you about your motives, endlessly lecturing, interrogating, and doubting you.
And still, you stayed.
Our relationship was not the “Eden” to which Frost refers. There were times when my poor judgment hurt you dearly, prompting me to collapse into spirals of self-loathing and remorse. There were times when you would make comments that drove me to tears, causing you to backpedal with incredible agility and apologize with clear sincerity. We took a break in January because I was convinced we were going to tear each other apart, then tear ourselves apart in grief. I kissed another boy. I used a dating app in a desperate attempt to make new friends, feeling unable to connect to people at school.
And still, you stayed.
I am so incredibly grateful for the year that we have had together. We have had wonderful adventures--traveling to Florida for Passover, road tripping up to the Boundary Waters, seeing Book of Mormon, going to concerts to watch our favorite singers perform, binge-watching Mr. Robot and American Horror Story, and so, so much more. You cheered me on through the college application process, cheering wildly for my acceptances and supporting me through my wait listings. I am so proud that you decided to go back to school full-time to finish your degree. I have every confidence you will graduate, loved by your classmates and respected by your professors.
I will dearly miss you: my best friend, crazy partner-in-crime, confidant, and cheerleader, but I know that it is the right decision for us to go our separate ways at this point.
I love you. I know you will do incredible things.
Thank you for sharing this year with me. Thanks for staying as long as you did.
Here's to your bright, golden future.