To You, From Me #2
To You, From Me.
I still think about you every now and then. In random fleeting moments throughout my days, I go through a mix of thoughts between how much I think I loved you, and how much I know I hated you. It’s complicated. I’m mad about it.
Let’s start with how much I loved you, and end with— well, you know how we ended. You were there.
Our first date was the best- worst first date I’d ever been on. It was a warm October night in Tustin, and the World Series was in Game 3. The Dodgers were playing, and everything that went wrong that evening was honestly my fault for scheduling a date during a World Series game. Again, I’m sorry— ten times over.
We met up at that Acai Bowl place we’d talked about, because you’d never tried it before and I wanted it to be a memorable date for you. And it was, but for the wrong reasons. But remember— they wouldn’t change the TV channel for the game! I pretended not to be mad, and you insisted we leave, so we agreed to eat at the first place that was showing the game. It was a seafood restaurant, and in an effort not to be too extra, I held my breath about being a vegetarian until you noticed me order a Cobb salad. You asked me why, knowing the answer, and laughed before you ordered a salad in solidarity with me. We spoke in broken conversations between Kenley Janson’s pitches for the rest of the dinner, and after the Dodgers lost, I begged you to take a walk with me so I could make up for how distracted I was. We found a bench in front of an Antique Shop, and talked for hours.
On our second date, it was raining after the movie and we walked through an empty grocery store. On our way out, you asked me if you could hold my hand— I didn’t believe in the spark until I felt it with you. That night, I noticed how your eyes crinkled when you smiled, and I liked it.
A month passed. And on each drive home, I found myself beginning to fall for you. But, as with most things in my rollercoaster of a life, my world imploded— like a conflagration— first slowly, then all at once. All within a week, my Maa passed away, my car got totaled and on that same day, my little sister was admitted into the Neurology ICU. I called you in the ER, remembering how my first love left, and told you that you should leave me now while you had the chance. I gave you a freeway exit, and forced you out. We didn’t talk for a few days, and my heart ached.
I called again to apologize, and we decided we’d try again. A week passed. My birthday was coming up, along with the company Holiday party the night before— but my sister was still in the Hospital. My whole world was on fire, and as selfish as it sounds, I felt like shit every day and wanted to feel like Cinderella for a night. You said you couldn’t come. You had plans. Your friend invited you bar-hopping instead. I told you I understood, because it was selfish for me to want that from you anyway. I wouldn’t push you to feel for me. On the night of the party, I went to the hospital instead and stayed with my sister— and as the clock hit midnight, I completed my 22nd revolution around the sun. I was never a fan of my birthday anyway.
The rest of our time followed that same formula. My sister was still in the hospital fighting for her life, and you were my distraction from the hell I felt like I was living in. I didn’t let myself notice how you never wanted me around your friends, or how you brushed me off every time the topic of what we were came up. It was a non-issue, as far as I was concerned. Someone as smart, and gorgeous, and like-minded as you, was actually interested in someone like me. I was lucky.
You weren’t a real distraction though— I mean, I wasn’t using you as a tool to temporarily forget that my life had gone to shit, I swear. Here’s how I know this: When I started missing you after just saying goodbye, I knew I was falling in love with you. Your pain was my pain, when you told me about your past loves who’d hurt you— especially the one that left you for her fling. You knew pain too, and it wasn’t the same as mine, but it was real, and you shared it with me. When you made me my first casserole and we danced in your kitchen, I felt like home was in your arms. Hearing about your day while we watched Star Wars in the background was always the highlight of my week, and when I fell asleep and woke up next to you, it felt like the rest of my life would go perfectly fine if that’s the view I got to wake up next to. It was a love, and it was realer than the first love I’d forced myself to feel. But I wasn’t your girlfriend. I don’t know what I was to you. You were careful with your labels.
I’m going on too long talking about the little things that added up to the big things, so let’s move past our qualms with Christmas and New Years, and get to the greek tragedy of it all: The part where we fight about not having a label on us because it’s been a few months, our makeup after Rogue One, and the part where I get what I want and become your girlfriend, but you changed your mind a month later. A mess.
And so, it ended as fast as it had officially started, with Valentines Day around the corner. Ever since I’d gotten back from New Orleans, I wanted to talk more, and you wanted to talk less. One day, you got the Flu. We both knew I loved playing Doctor, and I ended up setting up shop in your kitchen to make Ramen for the both of us. We talked about the plans we’d made and the other things I’d invited you to, and once again, you deflected because there were newer plans for you. I excused myself to the bathroom, and dried the tears I felt forming because I realized I couldn’t keep pretending anymore. You didn’t want anyone to know we were together, and you most certainly didn’t want anyone you knew to know we were together. You were growing tired of me, and your annoyance with my place in your life was becoming palpable. I came back to the table, and sat down, knowing I had to finally be honest with myself. I told you I wasn’t happy anymore, and I didn’t want this. You said you’d rather break up than fight again. I agreed. We fought anyway. I panicked halfway through, thinking that this wasn’t the hill I wanted to die on, but it was too late. You looked at your phone and looked at me, and asked me not to slash your tires. I laughed, surprised. I couldn’t believe you’d reduced me to that. We exchanged soft but angry “Fuck You’s,” and I left. I drove home, and Johnny Cash played “Cry! Cry! Cry!” in the background of my car while I hypocritically cried anyway. I left, but I still loved you.
A few weeks passed, and we didn’t talk. I wished you a Happy Birthday, and when you didn’t reply, my anxiety-filled gut told me something was up. But I wasn’t yours anymore, and even though it was none of my business, I shamelessly did some lurking. You had already moved on, it seemed. But the timelines didn’t match up. If she was already this far in love with you, then when did you meet? It was less than three weeks since we ended.
Math is not my subject, but I still know when things don’t add up. Where’s the grey area in a two-week overlap?
And so, I came to the realization that what we had was not as real as I had thought it was. My heart felt like you personally took it and shoved it into a shredder. But you know, it’s chill. I told you no one could break me as bad as the first one did. And despite the shady overlaps with your next real girl, the cut wasn’t the deepest I’ve felt. You hurt, that’s for sure— but not enough to break me again.
In what feels like the longest 23 years of life ever, I want you to know that you were my favorite love story. I know that’s something we talked about— how our love story wasn’t epic like the one’s we’d heard about— but when all is said and done, and as badly as you hurt me with her, the part where I fell in love with you was the best thing that could’ve ever happened to me.
Maybe that’s the point of second loves. Even if they leave you feeling like a meaningless and worthless sack of shit, at least you got out learning one thing: You can love again. Your first heartbreak will destroy you, make you feel broken completely, and like you’ll never be the same again— and in many ways, that’s right. Because you will be broken, destroyed, and never the same again. But you’ll also be stronger, smarter, less naive, and more in tune with who you are and what you want out of love the next time around. You will change, but for the better. So long as you don’t look back— because you’re not going that way.
Anyways, Z, you’re never going to read this and I’m alright with that. You never knew I liked to write anyway, so this letter will just be as much of a forgotten memory as you will be in the timeline of my life. I know I said it already when we broke up, but thank you. You taught me so many things, about you, about economics, about love— and as angry and scarred as it made me, I’m grateful for it. I’m happy we crossed each others paths in this lifetime.
I hope you’re living a life you’re proud of. I hope that when you wake up and look at that gorgeous face in the mirror, you’re looking at someone who’s accomplished all the things he’s set out for. I hope next time the universe pushes us together and we see each other at Woody’s Wharf, you get the guts to acknowledge my existence. I hope you learned from your lessons, and that you don’t mess around and play with people like you did with me. I hope you don’t make the next person in your life feel as stupid as I did when I couldn’t keep up with your money or work talk, or when I didn’t recognize the same fancy things that you so naturally were familiar with. I hope you season your food better now. I hope your friends are less of a bunch of assholes now, because lol, Connor was a jerk who talked about women like toys and I never liked him anyway. It’s my bad and I should’ve learned earlier, but— people are generally a reflection of who they hang out with.
But anyways, that’s beside the point. I want to end my letter to you by saying how truly and genuinely sorry I am for my role in everything. Using past experiences and pushing you away from the beginning was a terrible process— I’ve learned from it. The 2 people who actually read my writing will read this and maybe hate you as much as I did, or hate me as much as I do— but I need to set the record straight and say there’s a lot that I left out in this letter. It’s very one-sided, and with breakups, you have to always remember that there are two sides to it. I left out the parts where I asked you questions that left my foot in my mouth, and the times I didn’t validate you as much as I could’ve. I shouldn’t have done those things, and I shouldn’t have done and said a lot of other things. I left out the part about how hurt I felt when I remembered that you told me I was too far to drive to, and when I realized that your side girl who lived an hour away was more worth it to you. The part where I’d slowly break down for months after, questioning my self worth because of what you did, and would literally throw up at the thought of you because the memory of you cheating on me made me nauseous. I also left out the part where you made fun of my friend’s names. Biitch, you have a weird name too, I almost didn’t date you because our names sounded trash together. Ugh, I’m getting worked up over this, and there’s no point. You are in my past, and as much as I loved you and hate you and hate that I still have love for you after all this, I’m thankful for you.
I wish you the best. I hope your family is ok. I hope you’re happy.
A/N: Nothing like a quick scroll through old texts, and a few flips through some journals to get you in the right headspace to write about someone you used to care about. Ugh, I feel drained now, but in a positive way— it needed be done. I had to pour one out so I can stop thinking about this anymore, and as pathetic as it probably makes me look— I’m happy I did.