There were distinct moments I knew I loved you. That time you crawled into bed physically and emotionally bruised after punching a wall because you couldn’t get your dick up the first time we tried to have sex. Every time you called yourself “ya boy,” whether you actually meant it or not. When I sat on your bed watching a video you’d made for a class, my eyes glazing over (sorry) as the scenes flashed across the screen. I knew I loved you when you told me it was a film about us, but wouldn’t explain. I knew I didn’t understand you, but I couldn’t help falling for you.
So that’s why, months later, it still hurts to think about you. We haven’t talked since November when you told me you couldn’t be with me, despite the fact you were my god damn neighbor and I had a knack for running into you at every turn. It helped that you seemed to disappear, becoming so nonexistent I thought you’d left school until I was the one who actually left, graduating a month later. But it doesn’t help when subtle reminders cause a flood of what never was and what never could’ve been to rush through me.
Luckily I’ve only had one such monsoon since things ended between us, and I probably wouldn’t even think about you still if a picture of you and your new girlfriend hadn’t prompted such a response. It surprised even me when tears pricked at my eyes and I realized someone else was doing for you what I never could.
And as happy as I pretend to be for you (I can’t be yet, and I’m not), I hate that about you. Us. Myself. I have a full-time job, live on my own, pay my bills, etc. I talk a big game about dating in the city, glamorizing a lifestyle I don’t quite fit in yet and putting everyone’s shit on blast. And yet here I am babbling about a boy still in college who broke my heart. A boy who can’t be faulted for lacking feelings for someone he didn’t know harbored such strong ones for him.
So how am I the one who lost her big girl panties when shit went south? Or was that just some strength? I’ve moved out now. Can I buy that at a store in the city?
You were damaged and I loved the hell out of it (Read: we met in a stress-reduction seminar for fuck’s sake so I really should’ve known neither of us were stable enough for something meaningful anyway). But by the end of it, I got a little damaged, too. And when it comes down to it, I didn’t care. I just let myself love you.
I don’t know if I still love you, and to be honest, I don’t think it matters. Through hell or high water, and maybe a few bad dates and cocktails, I’ll love someone else. Hell, I’ll love many more people and I won’t let the tidal wave that is you stop me.
Moving away from you made me realize it’s ok not to let go, and it’s ok to hold a torch for a former lover. You ignited a part of me that gives me hope for the future. I just can’t let the fire you set consume me. I burn too brightly on my own for that.
“City Bitch” is a fast-talking, no-nonsense she-wolf looking for love in the big city. She writes weekly about navigating through online dating, keeping it cool while sipping on $20 drinks, and avoiding the douchebaggery that is the real world.