In the end you start thinking of the beginning. You’re left thinking of all of the great times you experienced together; the memories you created, the laughter you shared, and the early days of the relationship when you were both crazy and stupid about each other replaying in your mind like a movie reel on loop. You’re left to mourn and grieve the loss of the relationship — along with the hopes and wishes you had for it and the chances and possibilities of what it could have been — and you’re left to bury it in that unidentified space within your soul that exists somewhere between the darkest depths of your heart and the deepest spaces of your memories.
Everywhere you look you’ll be reminded of him. Something will always pull you back into his gravity. But most often it won’t be when you’re out and about during the normal course of your day, when you can surround yourself with people and distractions, that you’ll miss him. It’ll be when you’re lying alone in your large bed at night, remembering how your face fit perfectly between his shoulder blades, the way you liked to tangle your legs between his, the way his hair felt between your fingers, recalling the stories you told one another, that you’ll miss him the most. When anything and everything seemed possible — when a future together seemed to stretch endlessly before you.
But then you'll remember the unhappiness. It had come in like a mist, slowly seeping in at first but over time it became steadier, thicker, and towards the end, you had been drowning in it, surviving only through short gasps of air. He had long since stopped being the person he had been in the beginning, and one by one he was turning off the lights in the building while you were desperately running up and down staircases between floors trying to turn them back on. He was pushing further and further away and settling into a life that no longer involved you while you were fighting relentlessly to fix what you knew was permanently broken, wanting to hold it all together despite knowing how deeply unhappy you had become.
You're left struggling to understand why, despite the unhappiness, the overwhelming loneliness, you felt the need to show him you cared so deeply for him. Why, when he had showed you otherwise, you were delusional to believe things could go back to the way they once had been. And why we, as human beings, have a bottomless capacity for believing our partners will change. Perhaps because, despite the world and people proving otherwise, you believe, as someone once said, that people, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; that you should never throw out anyone. And you realize that it hadn’t been delusion but rather hope. Hope that you could bring light to a life that had been filled with sadness and darkness. Hope that you could show this person who had people walk out of his life what it felt to have someone work tirelessly to remain by their side. Hope that you could bring happiness and laughter into a man who had become increasingly serious, hardened, and isolated.
There is something innocent and honest and earnest about hope. And having hope in someone, for someone — for that person to be the best version of themselves, to be the extraordinary man you know they are capable of becoming — and for them to experience a profound, powerful, pulsating love that shames the greatest love stories, one that spans eons of conscious existence and ripples at the speed of light throughout the cosmos, stretching boundlessly through galaxies and universes throughout the infinite reaches of space and time — a love that most people couldn’t come close to dream of experiencing let alone comprehending.
What is that if not love.