When I met you, it was spring. The flowers were budding, the grass was getting green and the air was filled with pollen and possibility.
I’ll never forget the look on your face—your playful smile, your melty brown eyes.
When our love died, it was the bitter depths of winter. The wind was so frigid, it stung our cheeks and bit our noses, and our love had shifted, too, iced over, gotten colder, like subzero snowflakes.
An arctic breeze blew past me when I’d pass you in the hallway of our house.
That’s what it was like. Passing by you, being near you, but never actually touching. My skin was never able to reach yours. There was only the palpable distance between us, an invisible barrier erected of snow, clinging hope and secret resentment.
I remember talking to you, but never understanding the meaning of your words. Hugging you, but feeling no warmth. Caressing you, but coming up empty, feeling only a piercing well of unsatisfied longing that shot up between our hearts, like weeds.
Our lips would brush up against each other’s, but we’d never actually kiss.
Our souls no longer danced joyously to the same sensuous beat, but rather walked lamely, side by side, shuffling in shadows, out of tune, out of place, out of love.
I couldn’t bear to look at you—because whenever I did, I saw the truth.
The truth was that our love was dead; that it had been for a long time.
We avoided that truth; we avoided each other, like strangers living under the same roof. Being polite. Cordial. The air was passionless, the temperature far below freezing, like those bone-chilling days in February when even the thickest sweaters and softest scarves can’t keep us warm.
My skin ached with fire to be touched, but your touch hurt. It didn’t feel right. Your fingers on my skin felt like drops of cold water, but I thirsted for earth. You were a cascading waterfall, and I needed muddy grass. I needed rooted trees and the musky smell of dirt on my knees.
I couldn’t give you what you needed, either.
I was fire—a gust of wind full of tangerine flames, ready to howl in the blackest midnight forest and consume you in one passionate kiss—but you needed a gentle breeze. You needed something softer than I had become.
Your touch—too careful, too reserved, too unsteady, too polite—reminded me of all the things I used to be. The fragile girl you used to love. The girl who, if touched too deliciously, too confidently, too intentionally, would shatter into a thousand pieces.
I am not that girl anymore.
I grew and changed and transformed into a passionate woman longing to be touched with all the fire in the world. I wanted you to plunge into the depths of my heart, grab my face, look confidently into the turquoise storms of my eyes, lick my darkness and show me every bit and piece of your soul.
But you couldn’t do that.
Because you love the girl I used to be, not who I am now.
And I love the man you used to be, not who you are now.
Our love, f***ed up by the sands of time, a yellowed, tattered portrait of the past—it couldn’t exist in the present. Or the future.
So it shattered in our shaking hands.
And we were sad. Devastated beyond words. We cried. We cried in each other’s arms, unable to find resolution. We tried in frantic, futile attempts to glue the broken pieces of our once-blossoming romance back together—but it just kept breaking.
Maybe we thought that this love could save us from ourselves.
And maybe, for a little while, it did.
But it couldn’t last forever.
Because we are both too beautiful to believe we ever needed saving.
And so, it’s spring again. Winter peels away its frosty edges to reveal a raw springtime without you. It’s just me and the air that’s alive with buzzing bees and budding lilacs. I have my own heart to keep me warm now.
But I won’t lie, I think of you today. I honor you. I miss you. I wipe a stray tear from my cheek, and as the wind makes a mess of my long, sun-soaked hair, I wish you danger. I wish you beauty. I wish you nothing of the suffocated safety we shared together.
I wish you passion. I wish you love.
I wish you climbing vines of emerald-scented dreams.
I wish you freedom and adventure.
I wish all of that for myself, too.
As I think of you today, thinking of you is like looking at a polaroid of a completely different life. A life washed away by the hands of fate, blown to bits by the incompatibility of our hearts that we so badly didn’t want to see.
But there is a strange joy woven in walking our separate ways—the chance for new possibilities to grow like blades of grass, new beginnings watered with the firm knowing in our souls that it was right to part paths.
And I loved you. I loved you until the bitter end.
But our love shifted; it changed. I changed.
I don’t need you to save me from myself anymore.
I realize I never did.
We are both too beautiful to believe we ever needed saving at all.
Author: Sarah Harvey
Editor: Toby Israel