This morning I did it, although it wasn’t my intent.
I wasn’t looking in any particular place. It startled me, along with all the emotions I thought I extinguished, still lingering.
My old wounds were sitting right there.
I logged into Gmail with an old browser; like magic, our emails appeared right in front of my eyes. They all had loving titles, filled with words of intimacy, promise and action. There were pictures, poems, quotes, articles, songs. All the ingredients needed to create a perfect relationship.
I hadn’t looked at nor used this email address in what felt like an eternity. Why on this morning did I have to come across this? All I wanted was to be cheery, like other days.
Of course, once I stumbled upon it I had to peek inside, opening up every interaction. I read old words, browsed through quotes. I gazed at old pictures tainted with nostalgic memories of what we were. They reminded me of how we got to the place we are today. Two hundred and eighty-four emails is a lot of action. I only made it through about 20 before I broke down.
My heart wouldn’t allow it. It was too much for the sweet thing.
So I went to my couch and settled down. I did not know what else to do but give my mind and body time to process.
How do we process a love so sweet that still isn’t quite right?
How do we process all the promised actions that haven’t materialized?
How do we process the feelings from four years ago that still exist?
Why does it hurt?
What does this mean for me now?
Still confused, still in waiting, and still unquestionably in love.
I mean, I held up my end of the bargain. I went above and beyond for the beautiful relationship we created. I knew it was special from the start.
The crazy part was, he did too. Back then—four years ago now—he knew the first day he loved me. He knew within weeks he wanted to marry me. So how can we be here today, not married, not living together, still cycling together and then apart?
I don’t want to deal with the fact that he still hasn’t lived up to old promises.
I don’t want to deal with the feeling that my life hasn’t moved in the way that I imagined.
I don’t want to deal with still having him sometimes.
I just want to go back to feeling the way I did when I woke up, before discovering all this. Back to when those old wounds were locked deep inside a computer. Back to when I had forgotten the past—when I was only concerned with looking forward.
So I breathe.
I do nothing.
I give myself time to process: did what I found even matter?
I write and I ponder.
Does it matter to my future that he hasn’t been everything I needed right when I wanted it?
Has the time apart been good for both of us? Did it also serve a purpose in our great love? What if those promises were fulfilled—would I be the person I am today?
That’s what I want to think about. That is where my heart wants to live—in the soft sweet place of knowing everything happened this way for a reason.
I am ever hopeful; I still believe unendingly in love. My soul demands it, and I breathe believing our love will prevail.
I believe it is the only way.
And I know—in the deepest sense, if it is the love I think it is—nothing will stop it from returning to itself.
So today I am going to keep on loving him with all my sweet heart.
What else can I do?
I guess I could answer the door, because he is back again to love me some more.
Author: Nicolette Beale
Apprentice Editor: Jaquí Rodriguez; Editor: Toby Israel