I was doing alright. For the past several weeks, I had come to a greater sense of calm. I had started to miss you less and less. I had begun to focus less on all of your endearing qualities and stopped missing the magic that I had felt when were together. I had come to settle into an acceptance that we were never meant to be, that you were not who I thought you were and that I would eventually be okay. I was actually starting to feel okay. I managed to survive the holidays without you (albeit quite miserably) and I even got through Valentine's Day without so much as a tear shed. I thought that I might even be able to face our upcoming anniversary with the same strength, calm and acceptance that I had been feeling these past several weeks. That is, until my therapist asked me to recall for her the night that we first met. And it all came back in a giant flood.
I remembered how we were originally supposed to meet for our first date the very next day but that you had had an awful day and a terrible argument with your ex girlfriend, and I had offered to lend a listening ear and a supportive shoulder to lean on. In all honesty, my intentions were not entirely altruistic - I wanted to meet you so badly that I would've taken any excuse to see you. So I offered to come to your house after I finished my volunteer work that Tuesday night. I, of course, was feeling terribly self-conscious because I would be meeting you for the first time in a pair of yoga pants and a sweatshirt and my hair pulled into a sweaty ponytail. It was not at all the striking first impression that I wanted to make, and was planning to make, the next night on our official first date. But no matter - I couldn't wait to meet you. I was so excited, in fact, that I hurried through my volunteer work. Delivering meals in the Tenderloin, I literally ran from block to block and up and down staircase after staircase just so I could get to you sooner. Once parked outside your house, little butterflies began to invade my insides. A sure sign that I had already developed a sizable crush.
I rang your doorbell and you came to the door. And for the first time, I actually looked at you. I had seen you here and there, of course, and had seen photos of you, but at that moment, I was really looking at you… and you smiled. And I saw the sweetest face, the most gorgeous sparkling eyes and a beaming smile that validated this crush that I had already formed in my head. 'She is so… beautiful.' You weren't just "cute", as I had accused you of before we met. And you weren't just another pretty girl (though you were very pretty). You were … beautiful… in that way that few are: from the inside out, as if your eyes and your smile reflected what was in your heart, and your heart was right out there for everyone to see.
That night, we split our time between sitting on your couch and sitting on your front steps smoking cigarettes while talking and getting to know each other a bit. You told me a little about your argument with your ex girlfriend but I could sense that you didn't want to give me all of the gory details for fear that they might scare me away. And though I wanted to be a listening friend to you, I really spent the night trying to listen supportively but running through my head when an appropriate time would be to kiss you. You could have been talking in a foreign language and I still would've been happy just to be sitting near you and wondering that if I kissed you, would you kiss me back?
After a couple of hours talking, smoking, exchanging coy glances, and trying to tell myself that I should save that kiss for our first date, I decided that it was time for me to make my way home. While sitting on your front steps, I zipped up my jacket, started to grab my bag and then thought to myself, 'Why wait?' I leaned towards you and kissed you, and in turn, you kissed me back… enthusiastically. Your kiss was passionate, deep, sexy and intense. My head swooned. I didn't want to leave. I wanted to pull you closer, pull you back inside the house and pull your clothes off. Why did I wait until the end of the night to initiate that kiss? That kiss was made of pure magic.
As I finished telling my therapist the story of our first meeting, she told me that my chest and neck had turned bright red. She asked me what I was feeling and experiencing at that very moment. And I told her that remembering that night tastes both sweet and salty. It lifts me with joy and stabs at my insides all at the same time, that my memories of you fill me with conflicting emotions and that I can't identify one emotion over another; they run the gamut, the full spectrum and I feel them all equally. Joy. Pain. Nostalgia. Anger. Confusion. Disappointment. Hope. Loneliness. Love. Hate. I told her that the hardest part of the aftermath of "us" is reconciling who you were then versus who you are now, which seems two entirely different people. The hardest part is trying to understand who I thought you were, what I thought we shared and what I thought we felt for one another because it is so contradictory to what you did, how you did it, and how you left me utterly destroyed and abandoned afterwards. And I now know that I don't really know who you are at all. You are a stranger to me now - you're not my love; not the woman I shared my bed, my home, my soul and my life with. You're not the sweet, honest, vulnerable, thoughtful, romantic, loyal, protective, beautiful woman I met a year ago. And I wonder if you ever were that woman or if you were merely a mirage.
I didn't sleep well at all last night. I struggled to put my mind at rest and to drift off, and when I finally did, I awoke not more than four hours later, restless and flooded with those magical memories of you on the first night we met. And I'm flooded even now with the gamut of emotions that those memories evoke. And as I sit and write this, I can feel my chest and neck turn bright red just as it had as I retold our story.
Wherever you are, whomever you are with and whatever you are doing, I hope that you've found the happiness you were searching for. I hope that despite our messy end, you are able to remember that night with the same love in your heart that I feel in mine. And while my feelings for you now are conflicted, my feelings for you then were not, I am able to distinguish between the past and the present and I hope that you can too, and that you can appreciate that night for what it was and not what it would eventually become.
Happy Anniversary.With love,