It wasn’t anything special.
We didn’t meet at a café while both of us read a copy of a Jane Austen novel, or stumble upon each other in a crowded bar. There wasn’t a “we locked eyes from across the room” moment—not even a mind-boggling, toe-curling, butterflies-in-stomach kiss.
But we met.
I didn’t know he was the one at first. I’d been through enough half-a**ed attempts to feel cynical and dubious about relationships, but as we got to know each other it became more and more evident that he was, without a minuscule doubt, the one.
The beginning might not have been impressive. Oh, but the months that followed were straight out of a rom-com. There were late nights under ruffled sheets, dinner dates and movies, car rides in comfortable silence, long walks on the beach, handwritten letters and little surprises. There was laughter and passion and the purest demonstration of selflessness.
We loved each other fiercely and without hesitation; we jumped at the possibility of a future together, and we weren’t afraid to put each other first.
It was beautiful and consuming and every single thing love should be.
He was an ongoing treasure hunt; I was a Sunday between books. He brought light wherever he went; I kept quiet in a corner knowing he would still notice me. He was fearless and adventurous; I did my best to keep up.
He was funny in a way that was effortless, and smart in a way that was never imposing. He was a pleasant surprise and a secret I wanted to keep forever. He was strong where I was weak, and vice versa. We were different if you looked at us separately, but created the most beautiful harmony if put together.
I’m telling you, he was the one.
We were one.
But then, as it usually happens, something shifted. Reality set in, and we began filling our relationship with pretexts and reasons as to why it would not work. It happened cautiously at first, and then all of a sudden we were diving head first into the unknown. I remember holding him and thinking back to our ordinary first meeting and how I wished I could hold on to that simplicity for a bit longer.
But that’s the thing about reality, it doesn’t hurt until you finally face it.
I think even before we met, we already knew we’d have to let go of each other. For a while I was convinced I could fix us, but there are only so many times you can try to fix something until it becomes unrecognizable.
It’s funny, because I have always been highly aware that there is no such thing as a perfect relationship. I don’t get attached to the fairytale notion, nor do I expect to be carried away by Prince Charming. The truth is, I believe absolute happiness is overrated and you only get to know someone, and yourself, in the moments of hardships and sorrow. And that is how I know he was the one.
But it’s not what you think.
He was the one because he made me face my darkest side. He was the one because he made me believe that as gut-wrenching and disappointing as love can sometimes turn out to be, it is always worth it.
He was the one because through him I learned to love selflessly, and without expectations, which resulted in learning to love myself the same way. He was the one because he made me aware of how much more there is to life and the adventure it can be if we let it.
He was the one because through every problem, and every tear, I became the woman I was supposed to be all along.
He was the one who pushed me to be kinder to myself, to allow myself to feel everything that came to the surface, to trust my instincts and believe that that the phrase, “everything happens for a reason,” is ridiculously cliché, but also true.
He is not the one I’ll marry, and he is not the one I will share my life with forever, but he is the one who changed the way I see love—and for that, he’s one that matters.
Author: Mara Santana
Editor: Toby Israel
Image: Robbert van der Steeg/Flickr