I threw away the only man who ever loved me, and who in return, I was in love with. I realize that this statement must elicit a mirage of questions. Ten years later, I still can’t process, make sense of, or come to peace with this loss.
They say that anything is possible. It is a feel-good expression meant to fill us with faith, and is known as a statement which we use as fuel when our fire is burning low. “Anything is possible” is a reassuring promise when we feel like giving up, meant to offer confidence when hope is almost lost. I tell this to my child all the time, and I mean it when I say it to her. However, the fact of the matter is that everything is not always possible. It is not a negative or cynical truth, but rather realistic and truthful.
Despite the fact that I have dreamed, wished, plotted and schemed, I cannot get the love of my life back.
I had everything I had wanted and hoped for in front of me, and I threw it away. For two years after that, he begged me to take him back. My window of opportunity, which I thought would be open forever when I was younger, then closed. The notion of hindsight being 20/20 had now become raw and aching.
I still see these old wounds and scars from our passionate and draining time together. I realize that he will never love that hard again, give away that much of himself, or let himself go like he did with me. Since then, his life has become uneventful and far too mundane for my personal tastes, yet he is content with what he has created for himself.
He once told me I am a “wanderer,” always searching, always on a journey, never fulfilled through being still. Perhaps he felt he could not tame me, and perhaps I believed the same. However, I do know that he would have provided for me as a doting husband, been a father to my child, and embraced my Jewish faith. He would have let me follow my dreams, as a limited but loyal and caring partner.
His consistency, predictability, optimism, work ethic, and his ability to love and look past imperfections were the very things about him that made him easy to cast aside. They are now the very qualities I long for the most. I used to think that he was too naïve and trusting. I used to think that he never took chances, or sought out adventure. The joke is now on me.
While my love grew up and moved on, I am still trapped. Luckily, I do have my heart and soul, our child together, who is a daily, constant living reminder of him. She has his face, smile, the shape of his hands, and the curve of his toenails. She has his heart, his easygoing attitude and all that is good in him.
I had her to keep him, and although it is so rare, it worked. While he was there to stay, I was the one who left. Now I can never raise her with him, and never give her the family she deserves.
I am alone and lonely, so much that it is slowly but surely eating me alive, day in and day out, from the inside out.
Every major decision I made since I was 15 was about him- the friends I had, the places I went, the clothes I wore, the college I went to, the job I had, the place I lived, and the baby I kept. Even after we parted ways, the decisions around going to court and moving away always had to do with him. He has been the driving force in my life since I was a teenager.
I keep picturing the life we could have had, but I cannot make him see it. He sees the pain, the drama, the battles and his scars. I see past that, and I recall all the positive memories as well. I remember all of the memories we made, the secrets we shared, the laughs, the kisses and the lovemaking, the journeys, and the trials we overcame. I reflect on the ways in which we had grown together, the millions of firsts we had. I remember the odds stacked against us and how much we overcame.
Despite the fact that he and his wife are happy together, she does not know much of his history like I do, as she did not live it with him. She does not know of our timeless dance- him chasing me, me chasing him around and around until we became tired and threw in the towel before we should have.
My mother says it is easy to romanticize what could have been or what you know won’t be. Perhaps we would not have made it; perhaps it would not have worked in the end. I have loved since him, and I have been happy without him. I am particularly vulnerable and lonely now, so it is normal to reminisce. My daughter is growing up and I am not in a relationship, having another child, or living the life I had dreamed of. He may be appearing in my thoughts more now than he will in the future.
Sometimes I think that maybe he was the one, and I have lost him. He had finally hit a point in life where he had to walk away. In a soap opera, nothing is ever definite, there is always a chance, true love prevails, and passion and love are enough.
Here and now in reality, I have to somehow find a way to live with what is in front of me. Finding a way that does not consist of breaking into tears whenever I hear Jagged Edge, whenever I see Times Square, or whenever Friends comes on. I have to be strong when he crosses my mind, his name flashes across my phone, or his voice is suddenly in my ear.
Our love does not feel like a decade ago, it feels like yesterday. It has been frustrating seeing him finally become the family man and focused partner I wanted so long ago, when neither of us were ready. I will always have the love letters he wrote, the jewelry he gave, the pictures we took and the memories we made. I will always have our child and our history. I have to find a way for that to be enough.