Warning: Naughty language ahead!
I can’t forgive you. I can’t forget you.
Thoughts of you slip into my dreams, like inky splotches of smoke that make it dark and achy everywhere.
Flashes of the time we spent together follow me, like a strobe light of terrible memories.
The way you could break me with a single sentence, a condescending glare, a simple snarl of laughter.
Flash. Flash. Flash.
You always knew just where to aim your razor-sharp words, expertly hitting the tender target of my heart.
And I’d fall apart, landing right in the familiar trap of your arms.
How the hell did this happen?
I twist and thrash under tangled covers late at night, trying to figure it all out, as though maybe if I could assemble all the fucked-up puzzle pieces, I’d find a single grain of sense in it all.
The truth is, it doesn’t make much sense at all.
Matters of the heart are fragile, nonsensical; they can’t be untangled with the mind.
They must be felt. Each thread must be tenderly felt—no matter how much it hurts.
So, I surrender to the dull pain in my chest. I surrender to my tears. I follow their salty rivers inside to the secret places that ache—the places I’m too scared to explore in broad daylight.
Under the thick cloak of darkness, I see something I’d rather not see—
All this time, I’ve been waiting for an apology from you.
I’ve been waiting for the words that seem like they could somehow make everything okay—
“I’m so sorry for hurting you.”
The words that could stitch together the broken pieces of my heart. The words that could make this anxious ache evaporate. The words that could wipe away all the shit I took from you.
This make-believe apology hangs heavy in the air, a bud that just won’t burst open; frozen, lifeless, non-existent. It’s only alive in the sparkling ethers of my imagination.
It’s not real.
And yet, I sit—perched on my favorite chair, warmed by a small sunbeam on my chest, waiting.
Waiting, hoping, wishing, not really moving forward, not really healing.
Rage rips into me.
I pause in my angry waiting to wonder something I’ve never wondered before—
This apology I never got, would it really make everything okay?
The truth is unmistakable as the smirk that used to be stamped across your face—
No. It’s an illusion, convincing only from far away. Up close, I know better. I know that those words uttered from your lips won’t take the pain away.
It won’t erase what happened. It won’t stitch up my scars. It won’t make the past prettier. It can’t un-break me.
But you know what? I don’t need anything to make it all okay.
My scars need the open air to heal, brokenness inspires my heart to sing new songs, and the past must remain how it was —ugly. Dark. Full of luscious lessons.
There is rich, soulful beauty in that; the kind of beauty that’s hard to see.
I mean, it’s nice to think that every sad story gets wrapped up in a giant, pretty bow of sparkling forgiveness.
But it doesn’t. That’s not real.
Sometimes, we never get the heartfelt apology we wanted. People don’t understand how badly they hurt us. Redemption isn’t always in the cards. Endings are often stubborn, messy, not-so-clear cut, not so pretty, not fair at all.
But that doesn’t have to be tragic.
It can simply be an invitation to accept the glittering arms of the great unknown; to embrace the gut-wrenching uncertainty in all the things we may never fully understand or make sense of.
It can simply be an invitation to fall into our own arms, for once.
Because we don’t need anything from anyone else to heal—we need ourselves. Our own patient tenderness.
Healing happens in accepting the messiness—in accepting that those pesky loose ends don’t always get tied up, forever remaining frayed and shabby.
Maybe those loose ends lead somewhere breathtakingly beautiful that we can’t see yet.
And so, in this soft, fluttering moment, I nestle my chin in my knees, I hold myself—and I accept that this story feels unfinished, lacking the polished ending I would have preferred.
But I can still turn the page.
Author: Sarah Harvey
Editor: Emily Bartran
Photo: Sergei Zolkin/Unsplash