Snippet Series #18: Arrival

Wrote this probs sometime in late August, before I arrived in Valencia.


 

Yesterday was one of the happiest days of my life. All the obstacles for the next stage of my life had officially been removed, and the future was wide, open, and beautiful. My family and friends wanted to celebrate with me, and some of them even said they were willing to take a leave from work if only to see me one more time. Also, I was able to fulfill a promise to a friend that I knew meant the world to him. On top of that, my favorite artists and author released something that really made me excited. I couldn’t help but dance out of joy.

And somehow, I remembered you. I think it was because of the story I was reading. In any case, somehow, the story made me realize that I really had loved you, back then. In a way, I still do. But I understand what I feel better now.

I remember how I used to be so scared of letting you go, of losing you, of forgetting you, of you one day meaning nothing to me. I was scared that you’d be replaced, that all the crazy things I felt and moments I lived when you were still such a big part of my life would be invalidated, somehow. I was scared that all this investment was for nothing, and that maybe on top of wasting my time and emotion, it would all just bite me in the end.

It was painful, the inevitable journey of getting over you. I was awash with shame and guilt and regret and loneliness and loss. It took me close to ten months just to stop thinking about you. And then after that, I thought I’d be free.

But when the anniversary of the last time we talked came around, it still haunted me. I had forgotten about the exact date in my consciousness, but as it waned closer, there was an anxious cloud hovering over me even if I couldn’t explain why it was happening. And then when I woke up on that day, the realization came crashing down like a storm. I almost broke down in tears in the camp room that I shared with twelve other girls.

And it still hurt that you didn’t congratulate me for passing my board exam, or for getting a scholarship abroad. It hurt that you didn’t greet me happy birthday. It hurt that you didn’t contact me again even if I would be leaving for a good two years.

My friends went through break ups, and even if we technically didn’t break up, they asked me for advice. I didn’t know why they were asking. I didn’t even know if what I would say would make sense. But… I could talk about how I had felt for the most part. I could finally talk about you openly, without being shy or ashamed. And somehow, they were able to find comfort in my experiences. Still… it always caught me by surprise whenever my voice would break and tears would threaten to fall.

It’s funny, because there would always be moments when I would feel like I was over you – like it didn’t hurt anymore, and that I had forgiven both you and myself. And I felt like maybe I really had forgiven both of us, and maybe I could talk about things without some sort of sting in my chest. But there was this sense of “what’s past is past” to it. Like yeah, it happened, but that was then, and this is now.

Was that really what moving on felt like?

Probably not. Not if I was still running away from our memories. Not if the things that reminded me of you had no spark left in them.

After remembering you yesterday, I dreamt of you last night.

You were in your uniform. Both of us had awkwardly been keeping distance from each other in the dream, but when I finally made eye contact with you, you relented and went over to me.

You hugged me more closely than you ever had in real life. But it felt like it had all those times in the past – complete, somehow. Full. Pure.

You asked me how I was, and I updated you. You updated me. I admitted that I missed you. I asked if you had forgiven me.

You said you did.

I hugged you again and thanked you. I asked if I could kiss you, just on the cheek. Honestly, it was something I had always wanted to do. Even after everything and all the denied emotions and buried thoughts, if you would let me, I felt like it would give me closure.

You said yes, in a confused way, but ultimately fine with it. So I went ahead and did it.

When I pulled away, you were looking at me, a little bewildered that I actually did it. But you smiled. You hugged me again and joked that you wouldn’t ever do something like that to me, unless it was like this – and then you quickly brushed your lips against my own cheek. Then you stepped back and we both just looked at each other, smiling.

I can’t remember what happened next. I think maybe I was called by someone to go somewhere, and you were too. We went our separate ways.

And I know it was just a dream. But it meant a lot. And it made me realize something.

I finally understand what people mean when they say someone is always going to be a part of them. It’s not just objectively accepting that they changed you as a person, or that they were part of your past. And it’s not some sort of sappy, emotionally hung-over hope that one day you two would be reunited.

There was something I said before, “One day I’d only see your shortcomings. One day I’d laugh at your face and laugh at how I had felt. And that is the natural order of things. How many other times had my perception of a boy undergone that same process? Countless. And I remember how all those times before, I had longed for the day when I’d forget them. When the pain of not having them would go mute, and the distraction from work would disappear.”

But the truth is… the other boys in my life… after I had healed enough from them, I had always looked back on the memories with fond thoughts. I remember their good sides more than their shortcomings. I laughed at how I had once been attracted to them, sure, but it was still something precious to me, the same way you are endeared to a child for being silly. And though I had hated acting out of character before… I’m a lot more merciful now. There’s a liberation to being in love. It’s okay to be stupid happy for a while.

And I still miss those boys. And I still think about them every now and then. And I would always want to spend an afternoon hanging out with them and being kids again. I wouldn’t undo things – I’m happy where I am right now, and I’m happy for them, wherever they are. But they still make me smile, when I think of them.

And now you’re like that, too. I smile when I remember you. I’m finally here. I’m thankful.

Thank you for your friendship. Thank you for being you. And I’m thankful God put you in my life, even for the short period that you were in it. I still love you. Not in a soulmate kind of way, but I love you, and I love them, and I love all these people who I have shared a part of myself with. I hope that doesn’t change.

Wishing you all the best. May your story make everyone’s hearts soar.

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