Here’s a radical fragment of honesty: You saw him, as you see him now, the entire goddamn time.
You discovered that the man you loved could not be filed under People Who Stay, but instead under People Who Leave, but the truth was that a part of you suspected it all along. But the truth is you love as you live –– with stubborn conviction –– and your Heart drowned out your Mind.
But, the moment he left, whether you wanted to acknowledge it or not, a small part of you exhaled. Because you had begun preparing to lose him a thousand miles ago.
You prepared to lose him day that you sat down to talk with him about the writing you’d shared with him, the bits of your bared soul you’d shared so that he might see you, and he started listing out all the problems with your choice of words.
You prepared to watch him leave you behind the afternoon you drove him home from a weekend in the city together, when he subtly let you know that he didn’t want you to linger at his apartment for long.
You prepared to feel his hands let you go over the stories he told you of leaving his ex, and the time he ripped up the airport parking stubs and told you to ‘stop saving meaningless things.’
Part of the letting go, reader, is discovering that your heart didn’t actually shatter in a singular moment. Rather, he broke it in steps, in a series of stories in which no one meant to hurt anyone. This is the reason that, on the morning he finally told you, after all the tears and the shock subsided, you began to feel early rays of relief. He had been right.
And that realization, you will find, will have a way of unfurling your clenched fists. Your fingers, nails previously embedded in your palms, will soften and stretch unto the air. As you let go of him, the idea of him and the love you fostered, you will find that the past is not a place you hope to return.
Another part of the letting go, you will find, is deciding not to remember him in only these dimensions. Your Heart was not wrong to love him, to see the charisma burning in his body and the courage waiting to emerge from within him. You will remember the times you held one another, you lost yourselves in the magic of it, you laughed together, running with hands held beneath the stars.
If there are People Who Stay and People Who Leave, you have made peace with where to file him. Perhaps, to someone else, he will become one of the People Who Stay, but that is his story, and not yours.
As for you, reader, you have learned what it is to be somebody who stays, who shows up, who loves with courage and honesty. And you have learned, whether you liked it or not, that you will not die if your Heart is returned to your shaking hands.
So let go, one finger at a time. Exhale, inhale, exhale.