Can you still love me, even though I don’t need you anymore?
My heart, it used to beat at the touch of your hand, the nearness of your body.
But now, it runs, flies, trembles, breathes on its own. It has discovered the depth of its own feeling, the way it feels to flex its own capability. It delights in a coffee enjoyed alone, the coming and going of souls it doesn’t need to touch to feel alive.
It laughs at its own private joke, the freedom of stretching out in bed, alone at night.
A bottle of wine, for one.
Watching crappy television, without having to change the channel to sports or weird anime, unless it wants to. A midnight drive, or late night karaoke sesh at home, without having to worry about someone else’s early bedtime.
Getting up and going, without someone asking, “Where to?”
My heart, it loves you, but it quivers in excitement at the knowledge that it doesn’t need you. It is a solitary, glorious creation of energy and light. And if you were suddenly to disappear, it would cry out in pain, but it would not cease to exist. It would rise, bruised, but still beating.
And it would love, far beyond the memory of your name.
Far beyond the momentary high of your love coursing through its veins.
Because I am still me, without you.
Can you live with that? Can you continue to love me, knowing that I do not stay because I need you? That your love does not keep me alive, does not give me strength or beauty or light.
All that, I have without you.
I am no longer one of those girls, waiting by the phone at night, anxious for your text, your voice on the other line. Who needs to be protected, championed, taken care of. I can buy my own dinner, and enjoy it alone, in front of an episode of Gossip Girl and be perfectly fine. I can pay my own bills, buy my own puppy. I can even hold my own hand, and love myself, all on my own.
Can you still love me, knowing that the only thing that keeps me here with you, is a choice?
A choice to come back, after wandering countless roads, to the circle of your arms.
A choice to call you home. Knowing that choice may change at any moment, because I live for me, and not you.
Can you love me, even though I don’t need you to?
Author: Chelsea Griffin
Editor: Travis May