Did you ever hear that “It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all?” I call bullshit. No one wakes up alone and says, “Well, at least I used to have someone kiss me good morning. How lucky was I?”
I believe in the other cliche, “Love conquers all,” because it happens to be true. Most days, you'll find me with clenched teeth, uttering these words: “OK, Love, you win! I’m alone! Happy now!?”
Looking back, I took my relationships way too much for granted. I never knew how much a part of me the bond had become until it wasn't there anymore. (Cue Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi:" bop to the beat, weep for the words.) Sure, you miss the grand things that everyone can see, like having a built-in date to events, or being part of a one-word identity, as in “Bob-and-Betty are getting a new car.” But those are the first things you let go of. It’s the little things that leave a gaping void: kisses before you've said goodbye, funny messages left on the voicemail, meeting at the usual places. Those are the niggling, maddening moments when you realize, “Oh. I can’t do that anymore.”
And that’s when you know your heart’s not done grieving.
Sometimes, when I drive by a familiar haunt, I expect to see a younger version of myself strolling out, naive, carefree, unable to imagine life alone.
What would I say to that girl? Would I tell her to appreciate the good things about the relationship while she can, 'cause they ain’t gonna last forever? Would I warn her, “Sure, it's great - now. Pretty soon, though, it'll become a circus run by evil clowns."?
But it wouldn't matter what I would say: there would be no use talking to my younger self, because she never listened. And if she did, she wouldn't have believed any of it.
That's something we have in common.