I Remember...

My Last Letter To You

Dear green eyes,

I remember us like it was yesterday.

I remember waking up, turning over in our bed, seeing your face, slack with utter comfort. You looked so funny and I couldn’t help but smile stupidly as I watched you. I remember reaching over to brush your hair back off your forehead, thinking about how you needed a haircut. You mumbled sleepily and wrapped your arms around me in response. 

Such a knee-jerk reaction for you. It made me smile.

I remember feeling so completely happy; like if the world was destroyed in that moment, with me wrapped in your embrace, that would be just fine.

I also remember you walking out the door. 

I remember you withdrawing from my hand as I reached towards you. The confusion and hurt that stabbed at my heart, leaving a cut that would scar over in time, but still throb whenever anyone got too close. 

I cried harder than I ever had before. I couldn’t understand how the person I trusted the most, depended on the most, looked to for comfort the most, let me down. Rejected me because of my lack of knowledge, after promising he never would. You loved my innocence, yet ran when I just didn't know.

I withdrew into myself. I wouldn’t be able to allow anyone in the way I let you. I couldn't trust anyone the way I trusted you.

Wholly. Entirely. Completely. 

I remember sitting down at that diner; you had your glasses on, watching me intently, anxiously, your beautiful eyes darting from your fidgeting hands and back to me. I sat across from you, crushing under the weight of needing to hear your verdict of our future. It had been hanging on a thread the past 3 days, snaking into my peripherals and penetrating my every thought.

You watched me settle into the seat. I attempted to measure out how much sugar I wanted to put in my coffee. We both knew I despised the bitterness of coffee back then. 

You handed me a letter you had written for me. 

It was warm from you holding it in your palm for so long. It contained the answers to everything I wanted to know. My heart leapt. 

I unfolded it and read the words that I craved and wished for. You said that wanted to stay with me. You wrote out your love for me so beautiful, it made my heart sink. You loved me despite my innocent mistake. 

I read it, and cried. You take my hands in yours, feeling me tremble at your touch, and tell me that we can do it. We would get past it. You thought I was crying from relief. 

"I can't,” I whispered through the blurry lines clouding my vision. Those tears were from pain you caused. They were from how deeply it hurt to watch you leave, and the me then couldn't bear the idea of you doing it again over another mistake.

Your face fell. 

You weren’t expecting that. You expected me to just say “yes" and "of course" and "I love you.” I thought about how you didn't consider how much you hurt me, knowing how everyone else just left so easily;  knowing how hard it was for me to admit to you that I loved you; knowing you were suppose to be the one who never walked away.

Knowing that I had given you everything I could of me.

I couldn't stop the silent sobs from racking my frame while you looked on to me; then past me. Your eyes glassed over. Misty, like they were on the verge of tipping. 

I couldn’t explain it to you then. I couldn’t find the words to tell you why we couldn’t be 'us' anymore. I couldn't explain how my heart was cut open so wide and the stitches formed from your words just couldn't hold it back together. Not yet. I had to be away from you. At least long enough.

I remember seeing that picture of you and her together. 

I had been battling with myself, not knowing who I was outside of us. When I saw it, I stopped breathing. My eyes felt like a fog had settled in between my eyebrows. I felt my knees go weak, like the ground beneath me pulled away and leaving me crashing.

I was only worth a few months? That was the span of your love for me? Am I really that easy to forget? 

Words spew from mouths that could not understand on pleading ears.

"She is just a rebound for him." "You could have him back whenever you want." "There is no way he is really over you." "You can do so much better."

They didn't know you like I did. You had already moved on.

I rushed to a mirror, and saw someone everyone knew as your girlfriend. 

Known as the straight-A student, the hard worker, the strong one, the mature one, the one who had her life all planned out with you. 

But standing there, all I could see was her. 

Known as the weak one, the one who couldn’t get out of the darkness alone, the one who let everyone and herself down. She was so unfamiliar to me now.

I'm not sure if I ever really recognized her and I as the same person.

I saw her hair. You fell in love with her long, red locks; red was your favorite color. The comforting strokes you use to give her, letting the silky tangles get caught, wrapped around your fingers. 

I hate her hair, yet I love it because you loved it. 

That’s when it hit me. The harsh reality: you never truly loved me, just her. 

You loved the ponytail that sat next to you on the bus carrying two bags and a flute case. You loved the book-reading, sweet, studious, determined girl that strived to be greater because she was so tired of feeling so helpless. 

I thought that you loved the idea of her but that you never truly loved me. 

That you didn't actually know me. But that wasn't your fault.

I looked in the mirror again. Almost a year has gone past since. I see her again; still unfamiliar to me despite my efforts to find her. To become one with her.

I see the strain on her face from smiling, struggling to control the surge of emotions that come and go. I know that hardship. It sometimes pulled  me too far down and raised me way too high, all so fast, just like her. 

You had been our pillar for so long that I struggled to find even ground on my own. I was so naive. So inexperienced. So unsure of myself or who I was or if anyone would want me.

I had accepted that you are not someone I will ever get over. The logical assumption I carried with me now, reassuring myself of the decision I made, was that you may have never loved me. 

But I knew I loved you. She loved you. We loved you like I loved the ocean. 

I loved your waves, the big and small. 

I loved your heat and your cool. 

I loved your light and your dark. 

I loved you,

Wholly. Entirely. Completely. 

I tried my best to become to be the 'her' you deserved back when there was an 'us'. 

I let that image down, so in turn I was letting you down. I was never going to be enough. No matter how desperately I tried to force it, like a warped puzzle piece, I just couldn't match. 

"She" was your match, but I couldn't be her anymore.

A few months since then passed and I looked in that mirror again. 

I saw a new "her."

I saw hollow cheeks and electric bright eyes; a result from overworking her body to outrun her mind. Her hair was now cropped short, colored like an cerulean night sky. A patch encircling her left ear was missing, leaving nothing but shaved fuzz carved with geometric etchings. 

She and I both wanted to erase the feeling of your fingertips smoothing and tucking the waves behind that ear.

Now, I keep it because it helps to remind me of who "she" was. 

This girl that would never be up to your preferences. 

This girl, with demons and ghosts manifested behind her eyes, that you were not ready to stand by through the fires. 

This girl that thought she was so fucked up, not worth anything, not someone to be cared for the way you cared for her.

She decided, as I stared at those foreign eyes, that she wanted somebody new. 

She wanted someone who would fight for her, argue with her; who wouldn't let her walk away, and wouldn't let her say goodbye. 

She wanted someone who let her be herself, whoever that was.

She wanted someone that made her feel like she was always good enough. 

She wanted someone strong enough to tell her when she was wrong.

She wanted someone to show her that she was loved and never stopped telling her because she just couldn't believe it. 

She wanted someone who suffered through their storms and could bear the weight of hers. 

She wanted someone that, despite her childish mistakes, wouldn't turn away and leave; they never would leave her alone, afraid, in tears with the darkness closing in.

I just stared in that mirror, listening to her thoughts. Thoughts of her not being yours anymore. Determined that she didn't even care about you anymore. That you couldn't hurt her anymore.

I listened and felt the anger and confusion and hurt rising in her words; her emotions betraying herself. 

"We both went into that ocean; I swam past the waves while you stayed on the sand bar. You waded knee deep, I submerged fully. Now you are on another beach, and I am slowly breaking past the waves, trying to reach back to my shore. Slowly, but surely."

She thought this was the best metaphor for us.

She thought, 'Thanks to you, I am more cautious. My heart is locked away in a chest so no one can hurt me. My heart keeps the key grasped in it's little fist, waiting for someone worth it all to come along, coaxing it to throw the key to them.'

She wanted you to know that you left her bent, not broken. 

She believed that one day, someone would come along who wanted to take the time and the effort to straighten her back out. 

She believed that someday, she would wake up to someone smiling at her, brushing her hair off her forehead, and she pulled them close. Someday.

I knew the truth. I let her rant, but I knew. 

I still loved you immensely and it hurt. My heart was in an Iron Maiden, torturing myself for my own inadequacies or inability to be with you. Each spike an insecurity holding me from you. I didn't know how to find that key, so I projected a person that was not who I truly was; an image to hide behind. 

On the outside, I looked tough, unafraid, independent, resilient. Everything that she wanted the world to see now.

On the inside, I am vulnerable, terrified, lost, delicate. Everything that I never wanted anyone to see.

Time has passed. I look in the mirror, 

again. 

But now, it is different. 

I see parts of the original 'her.' I have a roundness in my cheeks, a fleeting hesitation in my eyes, my long red hair, the proper attire, a stiffness that keeps me alert.

But, I also see some of the 'her' that carried a hate like a stone in the pit of her stomach. I bear the strength from regular exercise, the electric bright of her hazel eyes, the shaved side that serves as a reminder for more than erasing your touch.

Combined, they make me.

There is a warmth in my smile despite my guards. 

There is an openness that wasn't there before. 

There is the honesty in my speech that I had lacked. 

There is a confidence still growing. 

There is an understanding that mistakes happen and grudges only cause more damage than anything else.

I see me, aware of my confusion, struggling to figure things out, content with life, focusing on the small joys over the big, looking for happiness in herself and not in others. 

I also have regrets that I acknowledge now instead of ignoring. One of them being you. 

You did love me. It was true and strong. You tried to show me that I was worth everything. You tried with a fervor, harder than anyone, to make me feel like I was the only one that mattered. 

I was the one who couldn't believe it. 

You loved the softness and hardness of me. 

My curves and edges. 

My ups and downs. 

My confusion and clarity. 

You saw the me that I was at that time and still accepted me for it. 

I thank you for that. 

I am sorry for this. 

For being so unsure. 

For blaming you. 

For being unable to give you everything you gave me. 

For making you feel like you were in the wrong, when I was the one who pushed you away. 

I will regret.

Now, I try to learn from that mistake. 

Thank you for the lily sketches.

Thank you for the beautiful portraits.

Thank you for the gold heart necklace.

Thank you for the promise ring.

Thank you for the emails when my phone was taken away.

Thank you for the stories to show me how vast your heart was for me.

Thank you for the smiles just for me.

Thank you for the laughter, both yours and mine.

Thank you for the hugs that were so tight I couldn't breathe.

Thank you for the comforting of my tears.

Thank you for the calming of me stresses.

Thank you for taking my hand and pulling me from the trenches.

Thank you for the lullaby that I still use to decompress.

Thank you so very much, my sweet green eyes, for loving me as long as you did.

I will find myself completely and the key set my heart free.

Yours always,

ATS

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