And there you are, still single.
Your friends keep throwing you disdainful looks when you talk about how the used-to’s are still-do’s. Sometimes you feel like people are rolling their eyes behind your back. You don’t expect anyone to understand.
After it ended, you had no one to run to. So the best thing you could do was gather yourself and learn to run from the pain. You try to ignore the snarky comments and the tone of the voices that probes you why, what more do you need? When will you realize?… Because I know, for the past months, you’ve been bothered by your inability to answer those.
But of course you tried hard to move on. This part, most people don’t get. They think you like being depressed. You tried to stay away from home – that comfort zone where everyone you know knows everyone else – enjoyed the freedom, rediscovered yourself… You did anything to try to forget. And over time, you have learned to accept that your relationship had to end when it did to allow the both of you to grow, separately.
Both of you remained good friends. You could make jokes about the past without the awkward silence after, you guys could sit down and talk and spare each other the drama… I guess you could say that whatever happened between both of you were behind you now, although sometimes you think that’s not really a good thing.
You would talk sometimes, about how he was always too tired at work, how you were doing, how both of you worried about the future. He would tell you about the girls he was seeing (he had no trouble getting dates), and you, well, you wouldn’t tell him how it stings. Instead, his name would come up on daily conversations with your new friends, because he would cross your mind all the time, as if everything you see and hear would remind you of the one that got away.
But you were actually okay. You enjoyed being alone. You are having fun outside your comfort zone. There was something about the unfamiliarity of phases that made you feel like you’re being cleansed of the past. You were healing. But sometimes at night, when your own mind haunted you at your most vulnerable, the healing process would pause, and you would relapse into deep, dark thoughts.
But you’ve moved on. You know this, it didn’t feel uneasy as it did before. It was okay with being stuck in a web you wanted to be free of so badly before. You let out the natural flirt inside you, that feeling you didn’t even know existed. You liked it. You learned new things. You were setting priorities.
You’re growing up.
You did not flinch at the sound of his name. The past would come visit you like an old pal but you did not let it consume you anymore. To see him okay, smiling, after everything, justifies your separation. It is enough to make you forgive yourself for causing the break-up that shouldn’t have happened.
But then one night he came to you and told you he was going away. He was giving up his job. He wanted a fresh start. But he didn’t really have a plan. All that to heal his broken heart.
And again, well, you couldn’t tell him how it stung.
You were angry and worried and sad at the same time. You wanted to embrace him, and at the same time wake him up and tell him to stop being stupid. But then you remembered you were in his shoes not too long ago. Broken. Unsure. Desperate. Instead, your energy was diverted to “that girl”. That girl after you. The girl that you lost to.
At that moment you wanted to strangle her, slap her repetitively until your hand hurt, and pull all her teeth out (of course you’re exaggerating).
She broke the heart that broke yours, and maybe you should give her a high five, but if that’s going to happen, that high five would land on her face. You cradled that heart for years. And you tried to take care of it until you were no longer given the privilege.
“How could you? You are wasting the chance I am now denied of. How could you throw away the chance to hold his hand whenever you like it?”
When you always felt it was the hand you want to hold when you get old. How could she throw the chance to fall asleep next to him? When you always felt he was your dream catcher, keeping nightmares away. To wake up next to him is even more beautiful than both sunrise and sunset.
You don’t understand how she could treat him like just another fish in the sea. You don’t understand how she could just let him go; he may have his faults, but you know better, he had you at your best and seen you at your worst (insert “one more chance” emoji here), but he still loved you just the same. And she shouldn’t just give up on someone like that. Because you haven’t. You just don’t understand how you are worth leaving for someone who is leaving him.
But now you’ll understand why. You’ll begin to understand why people always want what they don’t have. We always look far ahead, without realizing (or maybe deliberately ignoring) what is right in front of us. The elusive is so much more attractive. You now understand why people have to leave. Disagreement, discomfort, discontentment. Change.
But think about a favorite childhood toy you’ve been keeping around. You don’t play with it anymore. Most times you won’t even remember it’s still there. But oh, the nostalgia every time you see it. How would you feel if one day, the new house help throws it away?
Because that is exactly how it feels when you’re still getting over someone who is now getting over someone else.
Suddenly, it’s not about your struggles of undergoing, again and again, the several phases of moving on. Your own pain would seem insignificant. Forgotten. He would no longer have the power to hurt you, but when he cries, you feel twice his pain. He who still means the world to you, he who now means nothing to someone else.
You could tell him how it stings (and how she stinks) but it won’t matter. When you’re hurting, the world you know becomes a long, dark tunnel you have to go through alone. There may be helping hands but they won’t matter. Because he’d be standing where “the light” is. The cause and cure. And he’ll be the only thing that you see. So tell me, how could you reach the end when your endpoint has a tunnel of his own?
How did I know all of these? Because I was there. I was there while you were struggling to get to the end of the tunnel, the helping hand that you ignored. That guy in the middle of the tunnel you overlooked because you were too focused at the light on the end of that dreadful tunnel. I know that feeling of being in love with someone who is in love with somebody else.
But we both know that we will all find happiness in other things eventually. Because such is life.