I knew we were temporary, but, as usual, I let my imagination run away with itself. You were leaving in three months, going to be gone for six.
I remember our first date. You were just some guy I’d met by chance one morning in California. I don’t even think either of us thought it was a date until after we’d already been on it.
I remember the spark I felt that night, something I hadn’t expected to feel, something I hadn’t felt so strongly in years. You were a country boy, the polar opposite of anyone I’d ever been interested in before, but I think that was part of the appeal.
I liked that you lived hours away from the city, that I could escape to you on weekends and be somewhere completely different, away from all the concrete and skyscrapers.
So, as I often do when I know I shouldn’t, I fell into a whirlwind romance with you. It was one I knew for sure could only end badly. We’re both adventurers — the type of people who can’t sit still, and you had already booked your next flight.
I knew you would never stay for me, and even if you had wanted to, the pressure of you choosing me would’ve been too much for me. You had to go and we both knew that. We both wanted that.
I think you did your best to keep me at arm’s length toward the end, and the more you did so, the more anxious I got because despite you leaving, I felt like you were mine for those few months.
It was your impending departure that ruined us weeks before you even left. The closer we got to you leaving, the crazier I got. You told me I was overthinking, that we would find our way back to each other if it was meant to be.
I was being difficult — I knew that. I wanted you to myself, but knew I couldn’t ask. As a result, our remaining time together was tainted. You called things off a few weeks before you went, but I think you regretted it when you saw how quickly I deleted you from my life. I’ve always been good at moving on quickly.
You objected to this. You weren’t going forever, you said. You hoped we could stay in touch, you said. We’d cross paths again, you said. But I needed to be rid of you for a while because those vague ideas weren’t enough for me.
I needed to block you out until I didn’t care so much.
You drunk called me after you’d gone and said you wanted to continue things when you got back. I don’t think you remember saying it, or any of the other things you slurred in that call. I don’t exactly believe in the saying that drunk words are sober thoughts.
But that call was still not enough for me to have any hope for the situation. I started to see somebody new — someone who, unlike you, could offer me consistency.
That’s what I wanted (or at least, I told myself I did), and I could not give up on that for you, with your unrealistic ideas and your “maybes” and your “one days.”
You saw I moved on with this other guy who ticked all the boxes you didn’t (although he ironically turned out to be even more temporary than you were.)
Although you won’t say as much, I think that’s why you won’t give me the time of day anymore. I think that’s why, on the rare occasions you reply to my messages, your words are cold and uninterested.
Maybe you feel hurt, and I guess you have a right to do so. But you don’t know how it felt to be the one left behind. You don’t know how it felt to be the one that had no control over our relationship and to not know where I stood.
I think about you often, and sometimes, I hope you were right and we do cross paths one day, even though I’ve moved away again and so have you.
But we met in the unlikeliest of circumstances one morning in California, so maybe, despite being from completely different corners of the globe, fate will bring us together a third time.
But if it doesn’t, I hope you know as fleeting as our time together was, it meant so much to me, and I’m grateful for it.