I felt your presence as you walked into the room. Our eyes met and the world stopped. I saw my universe in your soul as you gazed at me from a cool distance. I lost my breath and I looked away. In the space where time stopped, the world moved slightly off its orbit. Just for a moment. And I know you felt it too. The eternal universe prepares our hearts for moments like this. But our mortal minds often cannot handle the truth.
I was with someone else, so I pretended everything was ok. I imitated natural conversation. Yet, every minute we spent in each other’s company after that first meeting was the ultimate in agony and ecstasy. How could I pretend I didn’t feel you? How could I feign normalcy when everything in my soul cried out to be with you?
In the beginning, I wasn’t prepared to let you in. I resisted for so long. I wasn’t ready to love. In fact, it surprised me to realize that’s how I felt. But love is funny that way. It sneaks up, enters, and nests when and where you least expect it.
Because of my fears, I loved you in the only way I knew how: tentatively and at arms distance. I wanted to let you in. We were so good for each other in theory. Now, it makes me angry to think back at how hard I fell when you gave me so little.
(I’m working on forgiving myself for that.)
I sought you out: Your opinions. Your advice. Your time. Your attention.
I was inspired by you: Your mind. Your perspective. Your candor. Your unbiased view of the world.
I learned so much from you. – I wanted to teach you too.
I was intrigued by you. – I wanted to be a part of your growth.
I felt unworthy of you. – I feared my past didn’t align with your future.
I wanted you everywhere. – You invited me nowhere.
You used my attention when "she" wouldn’t give you hers.
I was proud to be yours. – You avoided claiming me in public.
You wanted my time when it was convenient for you.
I opened my heart to you. – You poked holes in my darkest most tender spaces.
You took my body without commitment or apology.
You were there for your friends with the fiercest loyalty. Yet when I told you I needed you – wanted you – you ran away. A cowardice that must be obvious even to yourself.
With cryptic answers to straightforward questions, you evaded me.
With ambiguous responses to mundane inquiries, you led me on.
While I sat naked in front of you – heart open – vulnerable – exposed – you carried on secret conversations with others.
Though you sought in every way to hide yourself from me, I saw you.
Yet this much I now know to be true: You never saw me.
He who finds the courage to see me, for all that I am and all that I have to offer, could never look away.
Today, I can laugh. Knowing your heart was never attainable. Just like me, you had constructed an armour of memories from the past so you didn’t have to be vulnerable in the present. You held onto the idea of another – someone you’d never fully possess – so that you had an escape if things got too serious. You kept yourself unavailable for something real, something lasting.
Our greatest weakness was in avoiding the mirror offered to each other. A mirror of strength, loyalty, compassion, tenderness, acceptance, and love. The way I always wanted to be treated. The way you always longed to be seen.
Looking back now, I can see where I went wrong. We met and I heard a symphony where maybe it was only the thin notes of a single violin. I expected you to act like a person who loves and wants to be loved. Someone willing to expose their heart. Though Lord knows I, of all people, should have recognized walls and defenses. Forgive me for taking so long to let go. There was still music in my heart.
And to see you now, willingly loving another, brings me the greatest joy and the deepest sadness. I’m not sure why it hurts to see you happy. It’s all I ever wanted for you. Of course I want you exploring the world, making new friends, finding new lovers, and growing into the best version of yourself you can be. But my stomach tightens and my heart drops.
What would I say to you, if I knew you were listening?
How could I express to you the pain of what never was?
I wish I was experiencing life with you. I wish I was the voice in your ear encouraging you and congratulating you. I wish I was laughing with you as you discover new joys. I wish I was your motivation to step out, grow, learn, become. I wish I was mourning with you as you recount your mistakes and missteps. I wish I were the loving arms you crave as you weather the losses and self-doubt. I wish I was the counsel you seek when you are troubled, your mind takes over, and you can’t sleep.
I am certain of the outcome of my life. I am meant to be happy.
So I will wait without anxiety for the the one who sees me.
And for the sake of my heart, I release you from that expectation.