When I was 16 you stumbled into my life with all the youth and innocence of a precocious child and told me I was your map, I was your compass, but I didn’t know how to guide you when I was still searching for my own way home. I pushed you away, I left you drifting like a lost boy. I was terribly selfish, sometimes I think I still am. I am sorry that I wasn’t around when you really needed me, but I couldn’t bear to see you cry and it hurt me to know that I was the one doing that to you. I prayed you’d meet someone who was easier to love than I was. It is even harder to love me now, no one since you has done it quite as well.
I’ve been trying to change but part of me feels like I’m still looking for the girl that you fell in love with. Even though we haven’t spoken in four years and I even made myself forget your number eventually, your voice still haunts me. I remember our first kiss, sitting on that bench by the ocean, listening to Iris, we forgot the whole world. I never told you that you were a bad kisser and you never got any better at it, but that’s probably my fault too. I was never good at communication.
Sometimes I’ll sift through my closet and find the box that has your stars littered inside, hundreds of pieces of paper that you had poured your heart into, but I had poured your love into the ocean. I think you told me to keep it but even with your consent, I still felt like a thief. You said you’ll always be waiting but three years ago I heard you had finally moved on, and I should have been more happy for you but I wasn’t.
There are days when I wonder what if I had fought harder, what if I had just told you everything that was hurting inside. Maybe you would have been the one to leave me and things would have been quite different. Maybe you would have been the one to break me; I imagine you would have been kinder than him. You were always a gentle soul.
Two years ago I met a boy who reminded me of you and wanted all the same things you had promised me once. You both saw us in a small suburban home, surrounded by a white picket fence, and you had wanted to grow old with me. I don’t think you knew what growing old meant. You hadn’t even grown up yet. I wanted to stay young. I still do. I’m still not the girl you wanted me to be.
A few months ago I heard your name again and she told me ‘he really did love you’, but I wasn’t sure. My mother tells me love lasts forever but love doesn’t seem to last very long for me. My mother has been wrong before. I gave you my heart once, but I don’t think I have the same heart anymore. Maybe the cells have all regenerated and the one that’s beating inside me now is entirely new, or maybe I should have paid more attention in biology instead of skipping class to wrestle in your bed.
Two days ago I should have thought about calling you, but you were no longer on the list of people I trusted and wanted to confide in. We are less than strangers now and I’m sure you wouldn’t even recognise me in a crowded room, it would pain you to find me. I am not sure if I am grateful or disappointed, or both. I have considered every boy who had left a scar on me since I pushed you away to be a part of my redemption, but if you knew you’d probably laugh and say “I told you so.”
When I think of the life you had planned for us I wonder if maybe I am not the type that’s built for happy endings. Maybe I am better off alone; not hurting, not living, barely breathing, merely existing. Maybe that is what I deserve.