Friday, February 14, 2014

A letter to my first love, on Valentine's Day, thirteen years later

Dear you-know-who-you-are,

It's been thirteen years. How are you?

I'd like to say that I rarely ever think of you, but that would be an egregious lie, especially recently. You're married now. The only reason I know that is because of a few clumsy social media searches, which was hard to accomplish as you're quite hard to find. You were always hard to find. I keep finding you by mistake. I don't know how much you know about me any more. I know you found my linked-in account and had a look. I'm sure it was probably rather typical - theatre, teaching, graduate school - all the things I set out to do in college; I'm doing them. I've spent thirteen years doing them. I'm proud of that. I hope you're proud of me, too.

I'm not entirely sure as to why I'm writing to you, except that I've been thinking of you a lot, more than I have since you left. I keep asking why, I keep trying to remember if anything particularly eventful happened at this time in 2001, if there's some chrono-fingerprint left on my memory that I can't shake. But I keep coming up empty.

I'm single now for the first time in eight years. That might have something to do with it. I've been rather happy, I'm leading a pretty great life. I don't feel discontent or bored or sad. I'm not stagnating. But somehow, here you are; a ghost anchored to my heart. I realize that in the faint omni-presence that is your memory, I miss the magic we had. And I realize thirteen years later that falling in love truly is a magic. And love at first sight - that's down-right arcane. But we had that, didn't we? And that's pretty special.

My scar, the one you left, is fine. It doesn't hurt, it doesn't throb, I wear it as I ought to - as a badge of life experience that I survived proudly. Did I leave a scar on you? It shames me to say that I honestly don't know. Would it be gauche to hope that I did? Would it be heinous to hope that I hope you've been thinking of me as often as I have been of you?

Thirteen years. You were supposed to be long erased from me by now. You were supposed to be a faint memory that I recalled while listening to Coldplay, or the odd moment caught in the rain. But here you are, with so much space in between. I realize that I legitimately don't know you any more - the 31 year old you. And I don't know if you'd recognize me either. I've some ways, quite a lot. The irony is that you had a lot to do with that, though you weren't around to see it.

Before I go getting sad and pathetic and the tears start slopping into my beer, let me just say that if nothing else, I hope you're happy. Truly happy. I hope you're living a life that you love, that you're with someone you love - with every small particle of who you are now. And selfishly, I hope you remember me fondly.

Could you do me a favour, though? Would you release me? Would you please vanquish whatever homing device you left? Because I can't keep returning to the thought of you every time one of my relationships end, thinking "Well, that wasn't it." Would you please? I'm not passing the buck, or relinquishing my responsibility - I know what I've done wrong in my relationships, and I own that. I'm working on being better for the next time. But somehow, you have something to do with it too. And until I figure out how exactly, I won't be able to lose myself again, I won't be able to let a new magic take over. I've tried now, a few times, but when I reach down inside, to let the magic take over, it's gone. Because it's still with you. So if you could just let it go, I'm certain it would dissolve.

And then I'll be able to start over.

With love and fondness,


Kristin Quinn said...

Wow. That was so honest and BOLD. Good for you for not denying that part of you exists. When the residual feeling does dissolve eventually (and it will) it is oh so very freeing.

And congratulations on starting up your blog again. I'm about to soon and cruising thru and seeing who on my list is still active!

Have a wonderful week!

jennifer from pittsburgh said...

Nothing haunts the periphery of our lives like a first love.