I didn’t want to end up here. I didn’t want to talk about it or write about it or do anything else that would make it real. But as we know, you can’t always have what you want.
Two years ago I was at my worst, absolutely annihilated by the departure of someone I loved. Someone who used to say we would build a life together. We’d had a million adventures in barely any time at all. Everything with him made me feel so much. I’d gone from numb to blazing fire, and I liked it. I was his easy and he was my nudge. We made each other better – everyone said so.
He left me despite the stars and fireworks, and I collapsed in on myself. The broken promises could have been arrows through my lungs. The crumpled up love notes may as well have been coals in my gut. I didn’t know what I’d done to deserve being torn to shreds and left to die. All I ever did was love him with every ounce of me.
It was only our 86th day when he grinned and told me he couldn’t wait to marry me. We held hands as we pushed our way through an overgrown woods near his parents’ house. I grinned back and told him we didn’t have to wait.
He never gave me a reason, or maybe he did and I forgot what it was. The part I remember best was the way he choked saying, “I can’t say I love you back right now.” I remember the calm. I remember needing to cry. I remember that I couldn’t.
Time, of course, revealed all. He did love me then, but he loved her too. I was the perfect match for him, but she was someone he could grow into. I was his easy, she was his prize. I remember the first time I said it out loud: “He left me for another woman, and that is not my fault.” I remember saying it over and over again and slowly beginning to believe it. I remember the first time I looked at another man and didn’t immediately wonder which way he would find to hurt me. I remember one day feeling better and realizing I’d lost months of my life to that sadness. His sadness. I remember the anger that followed, and then the forgiveness. It hadn’t been easy for him to hurt me the way that he did. Could he have been kinder in his ways? Absolutely. But I know now that he was in a bad place, too, and the darkness inside of him made him do some of those terrible things. If he thought about it now, he wouldn’t be proud. He wouldn’t shrug it off. He would hurt, too.
It was only our 86th day when he grinned and told me he couldn’t wait to marry me.
Yesterday, he dropped to one knee and shakily held out a ring that I would have adored. The weren’t in the woods, but out in the open where nothing could hide. He choked up as he fumbled over the words, trying to be poetic. She cried at the things I think I would have giggled at, and he cried too when she said yes. Happy tears, though. The good kind.
He found someone else that he couldn’t wait to marry. And I’m happy for him.
So why am I here? I didn’t want to be, remember, but I needed to get it all out. Right now, I’m happy and I’m loved and amazing things are happening. Life is grand. It’s a hell of a thing though, to know that I was the last person he kissed before this woman who will become his wife. I was that last step to get him where he was going. I was that almost enough, that one who just missed the fairytale. It makes me feel things, things that I’m not sure what to do with.