They say absence makes the heart grow fonder.
Well, it’s been two years since things between us ended the way they did, and it’s definitely had an impact. Now we’re worlds apart, in both the physical and the emotional, and that isn’t going to change. I don’t even think that we’d want it to – we’ve both moved on to new things, and that is certainly for the best.
My time with you taught me a lot; I think that goes without saying. Sure, we both made our mistakes and couldn’t recover from them, but I realised that a lot about myself needed to change. I needed to learn to give myself fully to someone, to entrust my very being to them. To not shy away from my concerns, yet not to rush into confronting them with the kind of reckless abandon that starts wars and alienates people. To stop and take in what is around me before speaking my mind, and to not feel like I need to control every single situation. I needed to learn greater responsibility, not just with you but with the life of your daughter too. I needed to grow up, and become the man I was meant to be and always believed I could be.
It’s sad that all these lessons have been learnt after the fact. Hindsight is a terrible cliché that should make us feel better, but often makes us feel worse. Well, I have come to terms with that, and believe that finally I have found some peace in that respect.
I see that you have met someone else now, moved to another town and started university. Despite all we have been through, coming to terms with the realisation you have moved on is a relief to me. The uncertainty is something I have never been able to deal with well, so I guess I thank you for it. Not that I want to be patronising, of course, but I really do wish you well in your future life. We may have had our differences in the latter days, but you occupied a special place in my heart, and I believe will continue to do so for a long time yet.
And so, absence.. There are times when I do miss you terribly, both of you. I miss walking through the park, hand in hand, with the little one laughing with joy as she chases the birds. I miss the quiet evenings after she’s gone to bed, cuddling up on the sofa and watching a film to alleviate the day’s stresses. I miss your head upon my shoulder as I wake up in the morning, miss getting up with the little one to give you that extra hour of sleep you’ve needed, and miss feeling that finally I had found just what it was I had always been looking for.
But the more I think about it, the more I realise that it is not necessarily you that I miss.
It is the feeling.
The feeling of being wanted, the feeling of having someone special I can share my very existence with. The feeling of giving myself entirely in their service, and the feeling that someone, somewhere, needs me. The feeling that has been missing for so long.
Absence does indeed make the heart grow fonder, but not fonder of the who. Fonder of the what.
There is one that I am attracted to now, yet it will never transpire to be anything more. But, after everything that’s happened, the journey I’ve been on since to the very depth of self-hate, it’s enough to just feel for the moment. Enough to dip my toes into the water, to test whether I am truly ready to dive in after such a hiatus.
Because when I dive in again, I want it to be forever.
He put the pen down, another letter he would never send completed. He folded it carefully and placed it into a shoebox, which he then returned to its shelf in the closet. He’d never had any intention of sending these letters, but they were important to him. Important in the way they allowed him to work out his issues, to feel as if he was talking them out with her. He’d never had that closure that people claimed was needed, never had that one last conversation that invariably became a heated argument and ended with either someone storming out or passionate sex.
He sat back down at his desk, and rested his head on one hand. His inbox was open on his computer, and he re-read the message he’d last received. Her words made him smile, from the heart, from the other side of the world. Her avatar smiled back at him, and he imagined that smile being just for him.
Despite his current situation, he found himself feeling genuinely happy.