Some say you showed up at the perfect time. You know, to teach me “lessons.” All of my coaches and therapists and New Age friends agree: you were put into my life to teach me something. To break me open and change me.
But truth to be told, I could have done without your lessons. You can have them back.
I sometimes wish we’d never met. Actually, most of the time I wish that. I want to completely erase the memories I have of us, covered by a veil of lies, I later discovered. I have nothing left to remind me of you, except the flashbacks of us at the beach, you staring into my eyes and rambling on about how you’ve “never felt such a connection before.” All of the pictures we had, erased. No old shirts, nothing that smells like you.
It’s been 6 years. I should be over this, and you, by now.
But I’m not.
As I was healing from a breakup four months prior to meeting you, I proudly declared, “I’m going to be single for a year! Get to know myself again!! Become a strong, independent woman!”
The Universe had other plans.
After that breakup, I made the list. Ladies, you know which one—the list of all the things I wanted in a man, so I’d be able to recognize him better when I saw him.
How you managed to be everything on that god damned list, I have no idea. It’s like you broke into my house and read my journal and recited everything perfectly. It still makes me so incredibly angry how good of liar you were.
You came in with your stupid dimples and puppy dog brown eyes. Puppy dog snake eyes. What woman isn’t a sucker for dimples and a great smile? You knew exactly what to say and when to say it.
I didn’t find out about the other woman until much later. But she was there all along. I wonder if she knows your anniversary is before we had our talk. Did she know about me? Does she think she won?
I dismissed the signs. The late nights. The missed calls. The vague plans and messages. Your evasiveness. My gut told me one thing, your perfect mouth told me another. And your kisses. How could it be anything but love?
What you did should be illegal. You took something that wasn’t yours. And I will admit I gave it too freely. You never deserved my heart, my love, my happiness. You never should have been allowed in. You didn’t earn your position there.
But I’ve wised up. I learned my lesson all right.
My sad little heart, with its big, flowy, expansive and bright white wings, sits in a too small cage. It paces around, knowing what’s out there, remembering what it was like to be wild, but too scared to fly. Its wings were clipped that day. The day you told it, “It’s exhausting living up to the man you think I am.” The man that you were pretending to be.
A few kind strangers have tried to reach in, to set it free.
But my little caged heart sits. And wonders.
It waits for the day when its wings are finally healed, when the memories of being clipped are long gone. It waits for the day when the cage is so suffocating and small and it can once again be free to love, and be loved.
Author: Shannon Whaley
Editor: Katarina Tavčar
Photo: Jill Allyn Stafford/Flickr