Unlearning You

Leaving your embrace was the easiest part of leaving you. We had fallen out of love, you felt it too. So leaving despite our mixed-feelings was nothing compared to unlearning you. Having to teach myself not to call you and tell you about my day, that was hard. On the days my mother wouldn’t stop hounding me about the future and my best friend couldn’t hear the distress in my words and how I desperately just needed to be heard, I couldn’t call you. And you couldn’t call me. Despite knowing our need to wrap around each other, we cemented a wall of concrete between us, creating a distance we wished we didn’t need. But we did.

I needed to cleanse my system of your settings because too much of you has filled me. Your stories are ingrained in my mind, both tragedy and triumph. I can recite your history better than the pledge of allegiance, having spent countless late nights and early mornings tracing your tales to understand who you are in the details. My hands still feel your movements, from curled in shoulders to strong steps. My ears still ring with your words of comfort, taming my twiddling fingers and uneven breath. My lips still linger with the taste of your love, how you presented yourself with hesitancy but grew taller in your shoes after the moments we learned to come undone. How do I erase the contents of our love? Or archive it until I have enough perspective to view our memories with a fondness that only comes through distance. I want to stumble upon our past like a box of childhood photos from the first day of high school and have my heart swell with leftover love.

I want to skip to the end of our healing process. Despite living with scars, I always seem to forget that every scar was once an open wound rubbing my nerves raw. I can feel our open wound. Even though its connecting me to you, all I feel is our distance grow as we advance down a different fork in our road. Our lives have officially diverged and despite knowing all of your possibilities, I have to live with the fact that I won’t get to share in your victory when you have finally surpassed the troubles that swam through your brain, the ones that I desperately tried to drain with my love but could only really use to hold you up long enough to get a breath of air before you fell back in the depths of your despair. I’m always going to care, just at a distance.

So I’m saying goodbye to you. Goodbye to your scars that I used to kiss under dark nights when we couldn’t see the stars. Goodbye to the words of comfort you whispered in my ears when my brain only told me what I needed to fear. Goodbye to our careless days spent wandering through foreign terrain acting like we were explorers discovering uninhabited lands. Goodbye to our sarcastic banter we used to air our fears when we weren’t ready to face them. I’m saying goodbye to our good times but I’m also saying goodbye to our bad times. Despite all of our light, we knew we were not meant to follow the same path. We knew our scars gave us opposing pasts and contradictory futures. We just were lucky enough to meet in our middle; we were lucky enough to love each other for just a little. But now I’m saying goodbye, to our love, to our life. But most of all, I’m saying goodbye to the piece of me that will always exist in you.

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