December 31, 2016

Letter to an Ex who is Gone but Not Forgotten.

It isn’t supposed to be like this.

When we split up we were supposed to go our separate ways, but that isn’t what happened for me. On Tuesday, as I head out for a bike ride, I remember the many rides we took together and the many more I imagined we would.

On Wednesday, I ponder what you are having for breakfast, and remember how you used to think that you were a good cook—but you really weren’t.

On any day of the week, glimpses of you, your smile, your bright eyes, your tears and fears grace my visual field. There doesn’t ever need to be anything in particular to happen to remind me of you, because everything does or can.

But it gets worse.

When I am steeped in feelings, which is often as my heart opens, it appears that you have staked claim to whole regions of my heart. Your name is tattooed there, and so many sensations that I first felt with you lead directly to physical flashbacks, mutinies as my body just wants more of you and isn’t willing to settle for stories, excuses or less.

It wants the sensations of curling up with you, entering you, the way you couldn’t get enough of my touch, always wanting more. And especially the sensations that lightly touching your nipples led to so predictably that I couldn’t stop myself. Our first and last weekends together are bookends for the most loving, connected closeness I can imagine.

Somehow I felt free around you and committed, too. I just wanted more time with you—and apparently I still do. At least parts of me do. Not the parts that know better, that watched as we fell apart and discovered that we simply weren’t dancing to the same tunes. Sure, rationality knew it wasn’t working, but still there was a timeless magic to it that may be eternal.

Every day.

When the phone rings, I think it is you.

I saw you at the airport in Panama, I heard you in Denver. It wasn’t you; it was someone wearing their hair like you and someone with a laugh close to yours.

What I miss most is sharing your life. The long talks on the phone as you told me totally unimportant things about your day.

At first everything you did was, of course, incredible; that is the nature of a crush. But then, over several years some of the thrill wore off. But now it is back. It is lapping at my independence, a rising tide in my body and heart. My love for you isn’t that different than my love for life. Some days I can’t tell them apart.


It is simply time for me to admit that I am not getting over you, nobody else will take your place, ever. That doesn’t mean that I will deny myself love, but I will notice and be thankful for the unique parts of ourselves that we shared.

You are here with me anytime, all the time. You aren’t in the way of my life, you are an important part of it.

The future.

I have no idea what, if anything, I am to you. My imaginings range from, you have forgotten me, to, you will be the next person to drive down my driveway and we will embrace as though we haven’t missed a day or an hour.

You may have found someone new, I don’t know. But I do know that with every bone in my body I want the best for you. And it became clear, at least it used to be clear that the best for you wasn’t me. That realization didn’t bring an end to love or desire. Just to our kisses, lingering hugs, long walks holding hands and nights that I wished would never end.

I still have the book I wrote while under the influence of you. It is good, sexy, powerful and sweet. It is adolescent too: it indicates the process of growing up which lead to growing apart.


This romance is a process which includes coming together and falling apart. It is a tightly choreographed dance that knows just what we need. It is great art, the art of being human.

When I trust this process, I fill with love and still want to see you. When I don’t trust the process, I suffer, am tempted to call you, write you, or show up on your doorstep. There is a temptation to sneak a peek at you on Facebook: but usually I know what a mistake that would be.

This, as it is, must be completion; yet sometimes it feels like I can’t live without you. But I do. I’m thankful I met you, thankful for every moment we shared, and I am in the process of being thankful for not hearing your voice today or touching your arm or seeing your smile.

We are done: that much is sure—and even writing that doesn’t feel quite right. It may sound like I want you back, but we had what we had, and now we have what we have. We are incredibly lucky to have met, and must be lucky to have broken up too.

Thanks for being you and sharing your time, your life and body with me. Thanks too for knowing that it was time for you to go and for everything you have done since. Thanks for being my sun, moon and stars—and leaving behind another sun, moon and stars for me to enjoy in your absence.




Author: Jerry Stocking

Image: Flickr/Daniel Oines

Editor: Travis May

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