I don’t know what happened to us. To the two people who fell in love so fast and so easily that we couldn’t be for anyone else but each other. Mostly, I don’t know what happened to you, to the man I fell in love with. I remember you so clearly, better than any other memories I have, and that’s why it hurts so much to look at you now because all I see are the differences. But I don’t think you’ve changed. I think you’ve just lost sight of what it felt like to love me. And so here I will put the first of many quotes that helps me put together the pieces of our relationship, because my own words continue to fail me:
“Some people are good at being in love. Some people are good at love. Two very different things, I think. Being in love is the romantic part—sex all the time, midday naps in the sheets, the jokes, the laughs, the fun, long conversations with no pauses, overwhelming separation anxiety … Just the best sides of both people, you know? But love begins when the excitement of being in love starts to fade: the stress of life sets in, the butterflies disappear, the sex becomes a chore, the tears, the sadness, the arguments, the cattiness … The worst parts of both people. But if you still want that person by your side through all of those things … that’s when you know—that’s when you know you’re good at love.” (Matthew Healy)
I know I’m good at love. I’ve always been able to look past all the ugliness and remember the good; I’ve always been able to keep my eyes on the bigger picture. I think you struggle with this and that’s something that hurts us. But I also think that you find ways, your ways, to be good at love, even if they’re not the same as mine. You always find a way back to me, even when you feel like you can’t possibly stand another second with me. And that brings me to quote #2:
“But what are two people who love each other anyway? They are two people who hurt each other. Because you can never promise anyone that you won’t hurt them. But you can promise them that you won’t leave. And we hurt each other. And we hurt each other over and over again. And we stuck around. Because that’s what people who love each other do. They hurt each other because they are human. And they feel the pain because they are alive. And then they thank their lover for reminding them that it was all real. And it’s all fragile. And it will heal them. And build them. And teach them. And they won’t leave. Because that’s what people who love each other do. They stick around.” (wordsthat-speak)
One thing we do more than anything is stick around. Through, “the tears, the sadness, the arguments, the cattiness”, we stick around. As much as it drives us to the edge to be around each other, we stay because we know we would rather have each other like that, than not have each other at all. Even now, just thinking about my life without you in it feels like drowning.
Even so, sometimes I think about what it would be like to leave. Find someone else who will notice, appreciate and deserve my kindness, my generosity, my unconditional love. I could find someone, but they wouldn’t be you. Quote #3:
“I used to think that when people fell in love, they just landed where they landed and they had no choice in the matter afterward. And maybe that’s true of beginnings, but it’s not true of this, now. I fell in love with him. But I don’t just stay with him by default as if there’s no one else available to me. I stay with him because I choose to, every day that I wake up, every day that we fight or lie to each other or disappoint each other. I choose him over and over again, and he chooses me.” (Veronica Roth)
We chose each other. We have faced adversity and the overwhelming desire to be apart and still came back to each other. Even though it hurts right now and will hurt again in the future, it will all be worth it. You said that when we first got together, when I was wary and so afraid of taking a chance on you, on us. You said, “It will all be worth it,” because you knew then what I didn’t figure out until months later: that we are for each other. And so I say it now, like a mantra, to remember what I’m fighting for. For us. Quote #4 (our song, condensed):
“I’m pretty sure we almost broke up last night; I threw my phone across the room at you. I was expecting some dramatic turn away, but you stayed… And I said, ‘Stay stay stay. I’ve been loving you for quite some time time time. You think that it’s funny when I’m mad mad mad, but I think that it’s best if we both stay.’ Before you I only dated self-indulgent takers who took all of their problems out on me. But you carry my groceries and now I’m always laughing and I love you because you have given me no choice but to stay… You took the time to memorize me, my fears, my hopes and dreams. I just like hanging out with you all the time. All those times that you didn’t leave it’s been occurring to me I’d like to hang out with you for my whole life. Stay and I’ll be loving you for quite some time. No one else is gonna love me when I get mad mad mad, so I think that it’s best if we both stay.”
I love you, Nadle.