I still feel a flicker. It's dim and very occasionally offers brief waves of warmth. Sometimes, an echo of what I felt for you glances off of another memory shrinking in the distance behind me. I can't help but compare what I feel with others today and what I felt with you back then, though that comparison becomes more hazy with distance, which is sometimes frustrating, other times relieving. Sometimes, a place, a person, or a song reminds me of something about you, and for a crystal clear instant, I remember what it felt like. I smile at the joy I felt and fondly embrace the scene...to give it a hug goodbye. I think of you still, but I feel at peace with moving forward. It feels right. We've grown apart, and there is no starting where we left off, if there is ever any kind of relationship at all in store.
Goodness knows I see things, including you, differently now than I did when I hoped so fully that you were the one. Call it irreconcilable differences. But that doesn't change the fact that you--the version of you I perceived--are woven into my psyche, and I see no need to defensively extract you from my fabric. I may always be a little in love. I don't know how much time must pass before my eyes stop occasionally moistening at the wish that you had been the one, the thought of how at home I used to feel with you. I try not to ask myself "what if," a mostly successful effort. I felt what I felt, which seemed right at the time. I don't need to justify those feelings or explain them away. And I'm distant enough now that I can look back without defensively leaning away or longing for what was.
I could try to prove my old feelings right by clinging to what I hoped they meant, against evidence or reason. I accept that what I felt filled a need in my life and gave me something to invest in, belong to, hope for, serve, and be lifted by. It made sense with what I knew at the time. It animated me with a feeling that whatever else happened, what mattered most was being with you. Now that I've lost what I once thought I most wanted, I'm re-learning what I want and need and how to find it. I'm determining whether I can expect to feel that again or whether it's a beautiful but illusory memory which I should not even want to repeat. Is it foolish to hope for the same feelings but with something which proves itself? Is it a loss of faith to move forward more soberly without expecting the same emotional experience?
I'll just move forward and cope without pretending I can completely shut you out. My friendships remind me of you. My journal reminds me of you. Who I am today reminds me of you and how you imprinted my life, for better and for worse. Sometimes I'll almost instinctively say something I picked up from you, and I'll smirk that you're still in my head that little bit. But I wasn't one to leave when staying was hard, and I'm not one to go back when nostalgia pricks a tear duct. I accept the feelings, but I choose not to fight for you because you do not want to be fought for, and you are not, on paper, what I need or want.
I will not be a doormat and pretend you did nothing wrong, but I also believe you were doing your best. We grew apart. Maybe I'm wrong and should have changed. Maybe you're wrong and should have changed. But we came together under a certain agreement, knowing what each other was, and in time, it became clear that it wasn't a fit. I could try to stay and change you, but I saw that was not your goal, so I said my piece and forced myself away on reluctant, trudging feet. I have since gained clarity and insight to what I believe and want, so even though I loved what I felt with you, and would love to feel that again and be satisfied with what we had, there could be no going back even if you did somehow change. I'm afraid if you tried to bend as far as I'd need, you'd break entirely.
The you I thought existed might not ever have been quite real, but the you I believed in was good, and our relationship was good for me in many ways. It gave me opportunities to serve and grow and love and learn, and I felt like I was part of something special. I believe that even though we ended up disagreeing and parted on somewhat cold, detached terms, you generally mean well and are good-hearted, and I appreciate our relationship for the good it brought and the lessons I learned.
So let's acknowledge the experiences, the memories, the ways we impacted each other and what we learned from it, and move on towards our separate horizons. I don't agree with everything you do or believe, as you don't agree with me, but I will probably always have a bit of a tender spot for you, what I once felt for you, and what I still do feel for you. If I feel anger or resentment towards you at times, it probably comes from a pain which can only be inflicted by those I've cared about. You were once my home, and though I don't want us to disrespect each other by "holding on" to what is bygone, that's not something I can bring myself to fully disregard as part of the whole of myself and yourself. I wish you well on your quest for truth and joy. I'll see you when I see you.