I, too, will never forget the grey sweater that hung off of one of my shoulders, the warmth of the sun still seeping from my skin after the work day, and you. I had been awaiting your arrival and I let my eyes spy on your every move until I found the open seat on the porch, next to you. With every ounce of intention, I placed my hand on your knee in a disguised reaction to something that wasn't actually that funny, I just wanted to feel the spark, the surge.
They say that when you play with fire, you are due to get burned. I flicked the lighter in confined spaces, I struck the match on dry days, and eventually I watched the entire forest we had created together, burn into an ugly, black landscape with no sign of hope growing.
I remember standing in my room, facing you with reluctance in what I had chosen for myself, and saying, "...until this doesn't work", truthfully knowing that I was secretly trying to give myself a opt out, in case it was necessary. I remember holding on when the rope was burning my flesh and latching on tighter when I began to bleed. We were an unpredictable thunder storm that was due to create a wildfire.
I had wanted something from you that I should have known better than to ask of. Atticus writes, "tell me, she said, about our house, about our children and our gardens, about the life we will one day have, tell me, but he never did, because it wasn't real, and it wasn't until she was gone that he understood, that she never needed the house, she only needed the dream"; all of the nights spent in tears because our dreams were too personally important for each other, when all I wanted was to feel you want to grow with me. I craved for you to daydream with me even in there was no possibility of fruition, I just wanted to know that you could be as foolish as me in chasing happiness.
For months, I held onto my sorrow of bitter resentment towards the love that was cutting like a knife, even after I had left you. Now months have become years and the garden of regret has stretched its vines into the beds that never deserved that kind of toxicity. For a while, I could do nothing but blame you, to analyze your faults and reassure myself that the good had been taken from instead of myself just losing it. My desire for you to carry the burden of yourself became a focal point for what I thought was my healing journey.
There have been many a times that I have spoken the words aloud, that I am over you. And I am, when it comes to love. Where you haunt me is in the memories and now, the similarities. Your behavior, your treatment, your reactions - they have all become red flag factors when I am face to face with an entirely new and different soul. I spend countless hours attempting to talk myself out of how these people are not you. I have walked away from people, giving them no fair chance simple because of the memories, the associations, the fear of losing another couple of years to someone who is capable of stunting my growth. No one is capable of hurting me the way that you damaged me, however no one is capable of hurting you the way I did too.
Taking responsibility for the aspects that to me, were always rooted in the fundamental disagreements I kept within about your character, has been extremely difficult. Part of me still recognizes that there may have been a chance for me to have never seen my ugliest side while in the same breath of air, maybe if it hadn't been you, it would have been someone else.
Regret is a heavy word, we are taught "to not regret the things that made us smile" but I believe that you need to experience regret to learn from your mistakes. If your memories can still bring you nightmares, you are allowed to hold onto your regrets. My thoughts have shifted into wishing that the universe had never conspired to bring your presence into mine, wondering why I had to learn the things that I have in that regard. I stare at the dog that I picked out and you picked up, trying my hardest to always forget how you took her from me and how you sought the justification for it. There will always been unforgivable factors in anything that comes to an end.
There are nights that I wake with rage still, pleading with my memories to let them burn instead; they are not teaching me anymore, they are just torturing. Your name seeps from my lips when my frustration builds and my only blame is you. I pray everyday for my mind to learn how to remove you from it's corridors so that there can once again be more room for the flowers I had planted before you.
I hold fear for the ones to come after me; fear for what they may go through without a heeding warning. No one expects to lose their self to what lured them in. I pray that I find peace that is detached from you because forgiving you has always felt like I am accepting the parts that were truly wrong by definition and moral standard.
May your memory become one of insignificance, may I learn to not make the same mistakes, may I know when to leave before it begins to burn. May the seedlings begin to find their path out of the dark soot and ash, that they grow roots so strong and deep that winds like yours won't be able to knock them down again.
"We are made of all those who have built and broken us" - Atticus