Another “Open” Letter.

Dear So-and-So:

Just checking in. I can’t really see anything you’re doing anymore or who you’re doing it with, and I’m okay with that now, having moved on and away. There was a time in my life when I realized what a complete, total jackass you were. And now, after a friend’s passing, I’ve made peace with you, at least on one level. It still led me to question though, how; how could someone I cared about, who obviously cared about me, lie to me, treat me like you treated me; you tormented me for a year, waffling back and forth between friendship and love, sex and romance, and adulthood and boyhood while I tagged along, a willing participant in all of these cat-and-mouse games. I’m older now, and so you are. In fact, aren’t you turning 30 this year? Look at us. How old we’ve grown, that we’ve left undergrad behind, and 495, and Edmonton, and that cold March snowstorm, and us.

Looking back on that day floods me with an enigmatic and confusing melding of emotions. Sometimes I feel vindicated by the fact that I ever had you; sometimes I feel humbled by those 48 hours; sometimes I feel sadness at what might have been between you and I, in moments of loneliness and sorrow still believing in my whole heart that it was you and I that were meant to be. You and I were supposed to move to a ‘bigger’, ‘better’ city and triumph in our artistic pursuits. You and I were supposed to travel together. You and I were supposed to move in together, cook Thanksgiving dinner together. It was an opportunity for both of us to be seized from the ordinary of our lives and transcend into magnetism, hyperactive new love, crushes and wishes fulfilled, and I question why; why did you do what you did and ruin that fantasy-turned-reality, that vortex of awkwardness and inner beauty and a meshing of souls? Why? The question of ‘why’ has haunted me, tormented me, to this day and I can’t really answer it, nor can/could you. You never will. ‘We’ never will. If I had a way back to you, I’d take that way and follow it, but then I’d find myself back in a place of darkness and loss and early 20s immaturity and smallness that I’ve worked so hard and long to move away from completely. In case you forgot, I distanced myself from you in the end. Not the other way around.

But recent experiences in my life have answered this question for me… how can you like someone, want to be their friend, care for them and not want to hurt them, while at the same time realizing you cannot commit to them? How can you find something inside yourself to tell that person no and yes at the same time? Can there be both a no and a yes? Can souls wander together without being arm in arm? I don’t know. I don’t have an answer, nor should you. We’re almost 30, you and I, and neither of us have answers. So why would we have answers when we were in our early 20s and still emerging from our teenage lives, the lives we spent in residence, the lives we spent coveting worries that were, in retrospect, not real ‘worries’ at all? Grappling with this gives me perspective on you. It gives me peace, and it gives me the only closure I could ever glean from you since you were so unwilling to give it. That, along with music by my favourite artist, has taught me this and only this: we don’t choose who we love. Sometimes we’re magnetized to someone. Sometimes we’re drawn in by little gestures and phrases and a brand of charisma we cannot control. Sometimes it draws us in so much we lose ourselves in it, coat ourselves in this idyllic moment of light and shadow, relief and intoxication. And only after that moment persists do we realize: no. This is wrong, this isn’t what I want. How do you rewind? I’m asking the question for both of us. The answer still stings. The answer will sting. As long as there are human beings, that answer will not stop stinging, no matter who its receiver is.

The morning after hearing your truth still haunts me to this day. I can’t think I was ever that upset, that broken, even to this day. Nothing hurt more. Because nobody has ever grabbed me and held onto me the way you did. Maybe nobody ever will. But what I learned from that moment still stands as valuable, and what I see now is the difficulty and not the audacity of your own choice to hand me that answer. We didn’t make it, but what we did make is our own lives, carved from a significant and life-altering moment. Maybe nobody will ever fit me the way you do. Maybe I will never find someone I connect with on the level with which I melded with you. Perhaps soul mates wander in and out of our lives, never to return but we’re left with their lasting effects rather than their lasting presence. If this is true, you are my soul mate whether you see me as that for yourself or not. Maybe it’s the spring, the month of March, being back in Edmonton, considering my own shattered romantic life, the one that is falling in dozens of pieces that I can’t put together without assistance right now, the mistakes I’ve made, the ways I’ve been treated, both good and bad, that have led me back to thinking about you again. There will always be a time though, to come back to you. There will always be you and I somewhere in the distant locked chambers of your memory. There will always be something that binds me to you and whether I ever even occupy the same space as you or not ever again, one thing is for certain: I get you now, and I forgive you in a way that I was unable to before, and I know what you went through with me. I owe someone else the same courtesy and the same time to just let go.


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