This Feb. 14th marks the midpoint. What I mean by this is that I’ve been out of a relationship for as long as I’d been in one. Not since him did I think of entertaining the thought of someone else. I don’t talk about him. It still hurts sometimes to think about it. Only those in my inner circle know about him and his presence in my life. He taught me never to talk about my relationships. I guess this is why a friend of mine was surprised when I mentioned an anecdote about him at dinner that I didn’t mean to come out. You know what she actually said to me? She said, “I never knew you had an ex. I always assumed you were the single since birth type.” Then she laughed. I shared the laugh, of course. Then I said, “Just because I don’t talk about it doesn’t mean it never happened.” That stopped the laughter all together.
So, on this midpoint of being out of a relationship as long as being in one, I’ve decided to open up…just a little. Only the parts that don’t hurt as much anymore.
It’s easier this way. At least I don’t have to repeat myself. Whoever reads it will read it. The story will be for everyone and not just people I pick and choose. Life’s not that complicated for me anymore.
We met—like I’d like to think all couples meet—by accident. Way back when e-readers weren’t such a huge thing yet. I think I remember his watch the most. Chrome. The kind that looked bulky on the wrist. He kept pushing it up because it kept slipping down. Sometimes the habit annoyed me to the point where I’d tell him to just have the damn thing resized. He’d smile and ask, “What if I get fat? Then I’d have to loosen it again.” It made sense, but from the way he maintained his body? I didn’t think he’d get fat any time soon. I said so. His response? “You never know, some girl might break my heart and I’d have to eat my feelings.” I’d slap him on the arm then and laugh. He wouldn’t even flinch.
I guess I liked the way he made me feel. That was the most important thing to me. He made me comfortable with myself. And for a girl who spent most of her life wriggling in her own skin, having someone keep me still meant a whole lot.
We both loved watching movies. He was the one who taught me how to perfectly orchestrate a movie marathon in the theatres. “At home it’s easy,” he said, “but when you’re watching in the theatre you need to get the timing just right. Which movie to start the chain and which times correspond with each other. So the second you get out you’d have a couple minutes until the next movie starts.” Sometimes we’d race from one cinema to another, cutting it really close. He told me once that he could watch trailers all day. I think that’s when I realized I could spend the rest of my life with him.
I think my fondest memory of him would have to be Valentine’s Day. We had several of them. He always called it “Singles Awareness Day,” and up to this day I still called it that. He told me on our first Valentine’s Day that he wouldn’t give me flowers or chocolates. That we would have lunch (not even dinner!) then watch a movie. Can you imagine? When I asked him why, he said, “I don’t want to give you flowers and chocolates on a day when I’m supposed to give them to you. I want to give you chocolates and flowers whenever I want, not just on a specific day. I’ll give you chocolates and flowers every day if you want.” He said this all with a grin, a spark of mischief in his eyes. I had a feeling that if I challenged him, he’d actually go through with it. As much as I wanted to be showered with chocolates and flowers on a daily basis, the novelty would be gone in a week. I think it was the surprise factor that kept butterflies fluttering in my stomach every time I received something from him during the most unexpected moments.
My relationship with him seemed like a fantasy. He seemed so good to be true. But like all relationships, we had our real moments. Fights. Arguments. Screaming matches. He’d say it’s because we both had hot blood coursing through our veins. I agreed with him. With all my heart I did.
Not all romances have happy endings. The reality of it is, things change. Things happen beyond your control. It took me a long time to forgive him for what happened. And it took me just as long to find myself again without him by my side. Sometimes it’s hard to let go when you’re forced to let go. When the only good bye you get is from a letter. But there’s nothing I could have done to make him change his mind. Sometimes we really don’t have a choice.
So, this Singles Awareness Day, which marked the midpoint between being in a relationship and not being in one, I celebrated like we always did. I ate lunch. Watched a movie. But this time, something in me changed. Movies don’t always shift my perspective, but I’d have to say that the letter in Safe Haven did. Something about not being scared to find love again. I’m not sure when that will happen for me. It may never will. I’m not bothered by that. He wanted me to live my life. It took me so long to understand that when he couldn’t even live his anymore. Now I think I’m starting to get what he’d meant.