Sometimes I swear I’ve lived this life a hundred times over. Things are always the same, only slightly altered. We talked about that the night we walked the old town streets. Our arms were linked, our heads looked down, staring at our moving feet. Then you quickly pulled away.
“Circles,” you said. And I smiled as I watched you speak. The happy glow of Christmas lights shown across your face and the graveled streets.
“See, life goes in circles,” you motioned with your arms. Always so dramatic, so passionate
about the words that came out of your mouth. “Patterns.,” I remarked.
“Exactly!”, you beamed.
Why I remember that moment, that walk so clearly, I’ll never know. Then again, I remember almost all of our walks. I remember the pink and orange sherbet sunset, so beautiful it didn’t even seem real. I remember the crisp evening air and the feel of my very cold nose.
You ran ahead of me and laid on the railroad tracks. I thought you had a death-wish. I told you to get up. You wouldn’t until I joined you and I don’t know why the hell I did, but I did. And we laid on the tracks, our faces laughing up towards the sherbet sky.
Is it possible to fall in love in retrospect?
I promise I’ll get it right… next time, I think to myself.
But there was no next time, no second chance, no redo. Sometimes, there’s just a girl reading an unexpected goodbye email, late at night, desperately trying not to cry.
And sometimes there’s just a boy, with a backpack, and a car, and a cross-country road-trip back home, desperately trying not to feel the pain anymore.
It’s been two-hundred and sixty-three days since I last smiled at you. Two-hundred and sixty-four since you asked me to be your wife. Two-hundred and sixty-seven since you left, but who’s counting…
I suppose when someone asks you to marry them your initial response should be, Yes!, not,Why? But there we sat, with you smiling at me, saying you simply wanted to be with me forever. And something about forever, well, that’s where you lost me.
At least I thought.
See, when falling in love, that is, when you don’t know it’s love, things seem simple. But our love was anything but simple. It was extraordinary.
Our falling in love was sneaking into abandoned classrooms, just to watch the classics. It was BLTs without the lettuce. It was the beauty of Farsi poetry whispered into my ear. Our love was early morning Starbucks and late night laughing, books with hidden messages, letters and stories, happiness, sadness.
Our love was a compass, a journal, dresses, and scarfs. Our love was tremendously magical and would have been, could have been, a very happy forever. But the choices we make help determine our fate and without me, you met her. Wonderful, her. The one I’ve heard about from friends, the one who wasn’t afraid of forever. The shadowed girl from your dreams who you never could quite see, suddenly she shone.
As fast as time passed, the memory of you grew clearer with each day. Some forevers never
fade and I’ve learned that’s really nothing to be afraid of. It’s actually quite nice. So I stopped running and I began dreaming again, walking again, laughing again. I stopped pouring whiskey to the werewolves and instead went back to drinking in the world again.
Isn’t it funny how happiness has a way of finding the happy? I went through my days with a smile, until one day his smile met mine. He’s nothing like you. He prefers Tarantino to Aronofsky, coffee to tea, and facts to fables. And I love him, but I wasn’t the first. Somewhere between ‘hello’ and ‘I love you’ I learned all about the girl that loved him before.
I learned about how they met, college like us. I learned about the adventures they went on. I learned about their happy times and their not-so-happy times. And I learned about the nine years she waited for him because he was scared of forever. When he told me his story there was some regret in his voice. “But then she met someone,” he said. “And then I did too,” he smiled at me.
As time has passed, and the seasons have changed, I’ve noticed that our love is…breaking
down walls, building broken bridges, and laughing at the things we cannot change. He and I seem to have rewritten our former protagonists’ tragic end. There is a hushed excitement I find deep within me now at the thought of a whole new story with him.
So, what’s forever anyway? Is it a memory? A lifetime? A commitment sealed with a ring? I’m still not entirely sure I know, but one thing is for sure. I’m no longer afraid. I think about this as I walk with him, our arms linked, and heads looking down. I squeeze closer to him, the air crisp and cold. He hugs me tighter and smiles.
A familiar memory echoes through the wind.
“Circles,” you said.
“Patterns.,” I remarked.