break-up · dating · love · memories · men · relationships

To the One That Got Away…But I’m Glad

Dear So and So,

You were the one that got away…but I’m glad you got away. I never wanted to bridle you, but I certainly wanted to keep you. The love-struck teenager inside of me thought we would get through anything.

We knew each other for four years. When I first met you, I remember other girls flirting with you. I liked you from the beginning, but I didn’t want to let on to it; I wanted to play aloof. You sat next to me at the table and proceeded to knock down the doors of my heart. You asked me questions about myself, my life goals, and what I like to do in my free time. Then you told me how you decided at 26 to go back to school and were now in your first year of medical school. You were a hard-core atheist from Southern California, but now you found your faith in God and would be in my hometown for the next four years. To me, those were our years.

I was 21 and you were 29, the exact amount of years between us as were between my parents. I told you that when I confessed my feelings to you on that September evening in a Starbucks. You said, “You’re just throwing that out there, huh?” Everything I had was on the line. I had never felt about anyone the way I felt about you. Ever.

I’m not sure what burned you on younger women. Maybe it was the fact that your previous girlfriend was my same age. Since she broke your heart, did you assume I would too? I tried to convince you that not all younger girls are like that and that I am fiercely loyal. I think I proved my loyalty to you over the four years I loved and waited for you.

After it became clear you didn’t love me as much as I loved you, I began to play every moment, every touch, every word, every thing we ever did together, over and over in my head. I was looking for something that I did wrong, hoping I could go back and fix it.

The times we went to church together; we studied together; we grabbed coffee and talked for hours, even though you didn’t have the time; the time you helped me move into my new apartment; the time I took care of you when you were on bedrest; the time I met your parents; the times you talked about your dreams; we cried together; laughed together; talked about our exes; and told each other we can do anything…everything replayed in my head. It sounds cliché, but I think the only thing I did wrong was love you too much.

“How’s my girl?”, “Giving my girl a shout”, “My rockstar,” you would say. No matter how un-gangster you were, you still called my your “shawty,” and never missed my birthday. For not being with me, you were a great boyfriend.

I tried to get over you by dating other guys, but all they did was remind me that they weren’t you. I actually liked one of them and he later came back into my life. He taught me that I was worth taking the time for and that I deserve the man of my dreams. You seemed to forget that after a while.

That day you graduated from medical school, you also graduated me. I watched you walk down that alley, knowing things would never be the same. Never again would I see that smile that made me weak; feel that embrace that kept me safe; smell that cologne that drove me crazy. To me, you’re “The One Who Got Away…but I’m Glad.”

It took me almost a year to decide to get over you. For a while, I wanted to sulk and miss you. The thought of moving on was too much for me to handle. I guess on some level, I hoped that you would still include me in your life. After all, the one thing I wanted most those four years, was to be a huge part of you. I wanted to be the one who when you thought about the rest of your life, was there with you.

My wake-up call came just before my 26th birthday, when you announced you were getting married…to someone else. I felt my heart drop as nausea overtook my body. The girl even looks like me.

At that point, though, I was so tired of singing sad songs for you. I was tired of loving someone who didn’t love me back. So I let you go. For real.

Now I see what our life together would have been like.

You told me how you wanted to work with children with cancer and help homeless people get medical care. I told you I knew you could do it and that you were going to be the best doctor of our generation. You led with your heart and not your wallet. Now you’re not helping kids with cancer or homeless people. You’re working for a corporation and not following the dream that made your heart jump. You changed. But so did I. I realized that I deserve everything I want in life; that includes a man who has the guts to follow his dream and not compromise it for anything. A man who when he looks at me, is eternally grateful that he found me, not just glad to see me. A man who will have my back and be fiercely loyal.

I never deserved you. I deserve better.

Sincerely,

Me

 

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