yesterday i told a friend about the first time i had my heartbroken. i shared the harrowing details of some of the worst things i experienced, and how it left scars that fettered for what felt like eternity. and even after all the pain and damage he caused me, even after all these years, what i mostly remember about him are the good things. i still remember the exact touch of his skin, and his laugh, and yes, i also remember what his farts sounded like. i remember the first time he told me he loved me. i remember all the thing he used to do to show he cared. i remember how he looked when he cried. i seem to remember with astonishing vividness how all of my exs looked when they cried. i also remember each of their hands and the comfort and joy i experienced in them. deep down, there is a well of affection for him, for all of them, and i’ll always have a spot for each lover that came and went that is filled with love.
i once heard a saying that went something like “if at one point you love someone and then at any point later you say you don’t love them anymore, then you never really did.” and i think it’s true. the love may change, but there is still so much of it left to last for years after the break up…if the love there was ever true. even if they don’t feel that way about me, even if it means they never really loved me, it’s irrelevant to the role they had in my life, in all the ways they influenced me, in all the ways i grew from each experience, and on better days, i’m thankful for all of it.
i think it’s easy for me to be so accepting and so willing to still love the men who broke my heart (and the men whose heart i broke) because i’ve been fortunate enough to never date an asshole (well, there was one but it was so long ago most of the time i forget he ever existed). all the men i’ve ever committed to are beautiful beautiful beautiful individuals, they really are good guys but they too had their flaws (like all of us do) and so they ended up hurting me in terrible and in so many different ways. there’s only so much i can blame them for their actions and their choices.
it was strange to reveal the details of events that transpired six years ago, and it’s strange how my memory of certain moments have never faded. it’s strange to me that the number of men i’ve loved has risen to three…in my younger more optimistic days i used to think there would only ever be one. there were other boyfriends and other flings but i don’t count them because in hindsight i know i never really loved them, i only count these three.
and of the three, i know each time i got into a relationship again it took more work, it took more courage, it took more of me to reveal myself. loving the new guy was harder, but better too. and maybe because of this, maybe because of who he is, but mostly because of what we had–the recent break up is the one that’ll stick. this is the one that’ll be the eternal love with no end.
i remember when i met the first married couple i believed were actually soul mates, i asked them about each other they said to me “you just know”. it didn’t make sense to me. it took 10 years before i experienced it. because with him, i just knew. the great tragedy is that he didn’t “just know” about me in return. and what’s sadder still is that there was another man who “just knew” about me…but i didn’t feel that way about him.
so then there’s a glitch in love-related assumptions i had: when you “just know” when you’ve found “it” when you believe someone is “the one”–isn’t it always supposed to work out?
there were so many reasons to believe this was it. i remember the first time we ever met. later i found out he had thought i was pretty enough to write about in his diary. i remember when we saw each other again, when we met the second time. i remember the circumstances to our first kiss and all that happened leading to it. i remember with uncanny accuracy how he looked afterwords. if there is only one memory of him i am allowed to keep, it would be the way he looked in that moment. the way he looked at me. the surprise, hope, and what i think was happiness in his eyes. never will there be a moment where i find a person so beautiful. there will never be a moment that was so perfect.
i remember skyping and writing for months. the way we connected even with all the miles in between. the things we shared. and how we talked and talked and talked. how it felt like he was able to reach my soul, and kiss it.
i remember how we saw each other again after so many months, and the moment i was finally able to hold his hand. how it felt like the entire world had existed so i could feel the satisfaction of his fingers zipper with mine. i remember the pure joy, and thrill, and nervousness of being able to jump into his arms. and being able to kiss him. being able to touch him. being able to wake up to him and go to sleep with him. being able to turn messages and skype sessions into face to face conversations. being able to communicate without having to say anything at all. being able to let our bodies do the talking. there were so many ways he used to make me laugh. i can hear him stutter though words and phrases in my language. and the smile he’d give when i tried to speak to him in his tongue. i can hear the way he’d say my name, how he was the only person who ever said it that way. like he turned my name into something that was his.
i remember valuing every single day we had together. feeling so damn lucky to have found the love that everyone looks for. to own it. to know i was his. to have him be mine.
i remember how it felt to feel like the world existed so we could be with each other. that the centuries had unraveled in order for us to able to find each other. how it amazed me that two people raised in different countries, with different beliefs, with different cultures and experiences could see the world the same way. how his world and my world came together. how we created our world.
i remember feeling safe, loved, and like i was finally home.
at one point, he said to me “if “us” / “we” wouldn’t work, then there is a gigantic flaw in my concept of true love” as theories go, they’re only considered true until proven wrong.
anyways, i also know i’ll move on. i know it’s possible i’ll met someone else (eventually), i know i’ll give myself another chance, i know i’ll be able to love again. but. but. but. i also know i’ll never be able to look at another guy and say “you’re the love of my life” because it won’t be true. because those words have already been used.
i told my friend all of this and i got to hear about another story of true love. a relationship that officially ended eight years ago, that ended because one of them wed somebody else. even after another spouse and two kids, my friend still loves this person and they still love my friend. even after all this time, my friend says, it all always come back, the love doesn’t go away.
so i ask, what do you do?
what do you do when the love of your life chooses the world over you, what do you do knowing his love was infantile, juvenile, and had the lifespan of smoke that break from wisps which last only as long as a cigarette. what do you do expecting to love again but knowing it won’t be the love you wanted because that love has already come…and gone, that love is lost. what do you do when he choose the world over you, when he chooses a world without you?
what can you do.
you say your final words, you say your goodbyes, you let them go, always knowing the love you have, the love you keep, will survive.