The day you disappeared from the internet, my heart was seized in a vice-grip of anxiety which quickly transitioned into anger. Perhaps you’ll be pleased to know that you still can have this effect on me; perhaps you’re utterly indifferent, which is preferable but I sense isn’t quite the case. I have a feeling your vanishing is somewhat, at least, related to the pictures.
I haven’t been angry since Iceland, since our yelling match by that waterfall just before the course of my life was rerouted further away from you. I reacted. You’d never even know that we were together; I’ve obliterated all the evidence. In a few short months, I have remade myself – new hair, new piercing, new job, new man, new city, new home, new program, new cat, new friends. I sleep most nights now. Four years of conversation sent into the void last month; I deleted everything save your number, just in case. (We’re studying cardiology now; the right heart is blue, the left red, exactly as they’d have appeared on your phone screen. This is an allusion only you’ll understand.) You feature in my past two journals; I’ve nearly finished this last one, and then it can be put away where I won’t be tempted to flip back through it and revisit times bygone.
I hope that you’re happy. I hear periodic updates from mutual friends. Congratulations on the job, the car. I’m choosing to disbelieve that you ever got angry in a bar and ranted about how much you hate him (and perhaps me). Please know that I’m not upset at all that everyone knows everything; you have your story and I have mine, and I tell it with all the honesty and self-deprecation you know of me. Trust in that, at least. I know that you know that you have the very best friends in the world; you don’t need me to remind you to keep them close. I’m told that you’re not a puddle of sadness, which I never thought you would be but is comforting to hear all the same.
To be honest, I’m not quite sure why I’m writing this. Maybe I’ve deemed it important that you know that through this I’ve suffered extensively too. Most days I don’t think about you; on the days I do, I drown, because that’s what letting go is. A series of undoing, of celebrating milestones without you, of missing yours. When we last spoke, you said you understood that I’d fallen out of love with you. That was the easy explanation, but in truth I hadn’t. I loved you so fucking much that I wanted more for you, more for us, more for our lives. More, more, always more, always framed in my view and never in yours. I made the decision to end things because I’d violated too many of my own personal boundaries, too many of our boundaries; out of a slow realization that it wasn’t fair to keep you in a relationship when I wasn’t sure what I wanted; to provide you with the freedom to meet someone who’s secure and stable in themselves, who can love you in all the ways I clearly couldn’t, clearly can’t. This has never been a matter of won’t.
In short, I wanted what was best for me, for you, for us going forward. It was the hardest decision I’ve ever made, hands down. It was made with much self-examination and had infinitely more to do with myself than with you, your worthiness, your strengths and shortcomings, or anything you did or didn’t do. It was a decision made with a love for you that surpassed my own turmoil and incapacity to think or act clearly, and out of self-love in light of this all. You shared a beautiful four years of love and companionship with me, and I’ll always be so grateful for this. Thank you.
Had I loved you any less, held you in any less regard I might have dragged things on; had I loved you any less, or perhaps held you in higher regard, I wouldn’t have dragged things on so long. I hold myself accountable to this. Believe me when I say that I want nothing but the world for you. I held off from replying until now because I wanted to make sure that I wrote down what I wanted to say in a clear frame of mind, uncluttered by reactive emotion, and because I wanted to put a bit more time and space between us. I still feel things, obviously – while most things have dulled with time, others have become rawer. I guess that’s life. It’s a beautiful world all the same.
As time goes on I find myself with so much more to say, and none of it new.