the torture of small talk with someone you used to love
I loved this kid. This is undeniable, absolutely a fact. I loved him more than I’ve ever loved everyone. I don’t feel the echo of it any more, more the memory of the memory of loving him. I know I loved him, I remember the facts. But I can’t summon the memory of the pulling in my chest, of crying in my dorm room because I missed seeing him once a week.
Sometimes I feel like he could have been the love of my life. I feel like we could have made it work, long distance, gotten married. I might have been happy if we’d done it from the start. But now? I think I’ve changed, and he’s changed, and I miss missing him. I miss being wildly in love, caring so much for another person. I know he misses me too, and it makes it hard.
I saw him today for the first time in a year. I didn’t expect to like his face, but I did. He’d grown his hair longer, which I always loved. He listened to me, and I cared what he said. We laughed so much, partly out of nerves, partly out of the memory of ah, yes, it was once this easy. He texted me afterwards and asked if I wanted something more. I don’t, for practical reasons. He lives far away, and I don’t want a relationship right now. But even if we did try, finally, after this long, we would just be grasping at the memory of when we were in love. I don’t love him now, and I won’t again. I can never love someone like that again- not because I’m broken or anything, but because I’m not young and open enough to give my whole self to another person. I think I used that up on him, and I’m glad I did. But now I need to care for myself. I’m in love with myself, which I realize is wildly narcissistic, but I prefer narcissism to self-loathing. I need to be on my own team, and I need to be okay without leaning on a boyfriend as a crutch.
I think I just want to leave that love in the past. We were crazy about each other. It was sweet. High school summer love. I don’t want to taint it with adulthood. I want it to stay golden and full of hope. I know that. It feels better, knowing that we’re okay now as friends, that I’m choosing not to be with him instead of losing him. We were a moment, and that’s okay.