The way to love anything is to realize that it may be lost.~G.K. Chesterton
Four simple words coasting through my inbox on a typical Wednesday afternoon. I read them over a few times, my cheeks flush with emotion, brow puckered in consternation, suddenly conscious of every single beat of my heart. A slow dawning of knowledge; the acceptance that I miss him too.
Letting go of love is not easy…we’re conditioned to hang onto what we value most by any means necessary. Can anyone name anything more valuable than love? I can’t.
Which is why it makes all the sense in the world that there are moments when I miss him. I feel a tiny pinch of sadness along with the dull ache of pained nostalgia as I think about how he has no idea that I’m currently obsessed with lipstick. I wasn’t able to brag to him when I realized that I’ve reached the level of literary maturity required to say with confidence that I finally get Toni Morrison. He doesn’t know what my current favorite song on the radio is because I no longer lie in bed beside him and sing off key. He wasn’t there to tease me when I signed up for a 21 day meditation challenge, knowing that the recesses of my mind are full of words waiting to be written the moment I stop and give them space to rise. He doesn’t know that I started wearing glasses for night driving. He’s never breathed in the unique scent of my latest perfume. He has no idea that my new catch phrase is ‘Yowza!’, used at random to convey shock, awe or excitement, depending upon inflection.
In other words, he doesn’t know me anymore. He hasn’t kept up with current events. I can only assume what’s true for me is true for him. What’s changed and what’s stayed the same? I have no idea and it saddens me that I don’t know. I have no idea who his current favorite UFC fighter is, or what class he’s taking in his constant pursuit of further education. I haven’t been forced to watch the discovery channel on the off chance that we might someday have to survive in the wild, so I don’t have a clue what our boy, Bear, is up to lately. I don’t know what kinds of sugary sweets he keeps in the back of his pantry, while swearing up and down that he doesn’t eat junk food. It’s not my place to find the hidden Oreos and gloat. I don’t know if he’s sporting a five o’clock shadow, a clean shaven head or a low fade. I don’t know if he still runs a few miles a day, or if his fondness for Guinness has finally manifested in a beer paunch.
He misses me. Of course he does. I miss him. Of course I do. We used to slow dance without music in the living room. I shared my poetry with him and he looked at me and really saw me. The light from the pride shining in his eyes was bright enough to guide home ships lost at sea. He literally kissed away my tears before, catching each one with his lips as they fell. We used the bathroom with the door open, and thought nothing of flicking a foreign object from each other’s nose. Gross, but true. We were family.
You all know how the story ended. He wants to start over, requesting my friendship if nothing else. He thinks that what happened can be delegated to a single chapter in the story of us. I don’t know if that’s true or not. I closed the book and placed it on a shelf. I put 450 miles between us and wished it were a continent. We haven’t laid eyes on each other in over a year and five months.
Naturally, my first instinct is to hang on. To hold close the affection I carried for so long. But, my hands stay open, letting it all go like sand sifting through shifting fingers. Because here’s what I do know: if having un-denied access to the various nuances of me wasn’t enough, then space must be made for someone who will appreciate the experience.
I also know that I’m not alone in this. That there are others with open palms denying the adage that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bushes. People who have already lived in the shadows, lost and unsure, and are not afraid to stand alone in the light of truth.
He didn’t have an S stitched on his shirt and he didn’t own a pitchfork. He was an ordinary man ripped, like the rest of us, by wrath and love. ~ Toni Morrison. “Love”