It wasn’t perfect.
It wasn’t even a thing, and in this moment, I am fully aware that I miss something that is not you.
As I try to pin that down, I unpackage my own head in a manner so that after this ordeal, I may simply wrap my memories of you up so neatly that it would appear untouched. I do this carefully, but quickly, as I fear the lingering of your face in the forefront of my brain serves no justice for my heart and what it may one day ache to fawn over once more. So, like a child preserving her favorite wrappings on an early Christmas morning, I lift the tape and unfold the creases in the paper, remembering how I once boxed these contents and carefully put them away, only to unveil my thoughts now that are so deeply pressed with you.
You fully accepted me, a stranger, and continued to do so with every exchange, until all of our days were built around our conversations. Our nights dragged to early mornings, driving to hushed locations with burning lights in the dark sky. Fantasies of sharing my secret places projected like films in the backs of my eyes. The butterflies that engulfed my body left my arms numb, and if I think of it, the feeling can still reverberate—only—the feeling is so dismally low that it fails to produce a hum, let alone the world-shaking rumbles of yesteryear.
In those times, I wanted to be the best version of myself, exclusively because you deserved that. And I tried. Every promise I made to myself was followed through, because it came down to you.
There are certain things that I have become proud of myself for since then. One is how educated I have become on topics that I should have learned a long time ago. Another is that I continue to value my relationships above all. My friends are the sincerest individuals I may come across in my life, and our mutual support is invaluable to me, as I know you understand. I do the activities that make me happy as often as I feel I should, which means going into the wild, escaping to a beach, or driving with a vague destination of solace to clear my head. At times, I think of you there, but as I mentioned, I fear the lingering of your face in my mind is unhealthy for my heart, so you do not stay there long. Though, sometimes I wonder if you sense it, or if my thoughts of you are reactions to you wondering about me.
There are things I am not proud of that have happened since I knew you. One is how I withdrew myself from risk altogether. I once spent hours a day researching positions to further my career, only to entirely halt the process when you no longer existed to hear of my progress. I healed myself by returning to a bubble of comfort, and I have been happy here, but I wonder at times where else I could be, and what better for the world my actions could bring about if I only persevered. I suppose this behavior isn’t characteristic of the person you deserve, but I have long understood that I am vastly different from whoever that is.
I have dedicated my life to the pursuit of love, and while I am so enthralled with who I am and have become, it is evident that I have loved unfavorably unto others than I have to myself. A version of myself would say that nobody should retreat from life due to circumstances, however, I have. However! I am unsure if I would be who I am, given a different path, and a forthcoming commitment to drive my future may come as a result of my personal achievements.
There is so much to be grateful for because of you—in knowing love, in feeling full, and pursuing a future as bright as I’d envisioned—and so much to protect myself from. So, as I conclusively admit that I miss the feeling you allowed me to feel about myself, and not specifically you, yourself, please allow me to wrap you up again. Let me take you to the box once more, bring out the wrappings, and tie a bow to undo upon our next visit. I thank you, and wish I could keep you as a friend, but in this box that I place so high on the shelf, you are.
I can do this on my own. It may take me time, but I will find what I have been looking for, and a day will come when I am the driving force in my life. A day will come when I find a person who cohesively joins my life; who drives me to be myself—similarly to what you had done—but for no one except myself. Until then, I will continue to live happily every day, and hope you are doing the same.