Next Friday is my parent’s 20th wedding anniversary.
It also happens to be the seventh anniversary of the last time I saw your face.
Seven years have passed since you told me you loved me and I believed you meant it for the first time.
Seven years have gone by since you told me you wanted babies, that you wanted to start our life.
Seven years since all I ever wanted exploded spectacularly in my face.
“You know I can never be with just one person for the rest of my life.”
“You know I’m going to cheat on you, you know I sleep with all my friends.”
“I’ll always love you, but you know I can’t be the man you want me to be … right?”
That was news to me.
So I ran out the door and out of your life.
The last time I saw you was through a veil of tears as I was starting my car, you were standing in your doorway with your cellphone to your ear, staring at me.
Who were you calling?
How was the rest of that day for you?
That week, that year?
The last I knew, you were moving up in your company and had moved to California (La Jolla?), exactly where I knew you wanted to be.
We were still friends on Facebook, then. I would look at your profile every once in a while and see what you were doing, so happy without me.
You moved in with a man.
You came out.
I can’t say I was surprised.
I deleted that Facebook account.
But for so long I wanted to hold on.
I obsessed over running into you. I was convinced that if we saw each other again our lives would change.
When I visited Arizona a few years ago we took a road trip and traveled through southern California from LA down to San Diego, and for an entire 24 hours my heart beat faster knowing that the potential for bumping in to you at a gas station or that place we got Mexican take-out was far greater than it was back home.
I always imagined this dramatic reunion, something out of a damn rom-com, where we see each other and realize what we’ve both been missing all this time and fall into each other’s arms and just start over, go back to that place, that time when we loved each other.
Then last week, a random click.
Your public Facebook page.
You’re back in Connecticut.
You’ve been living 20 minutes away from me for the last year and a half.
My heart stopped.
And when it started again it wasn’t beating for you anymore.
Seven years and then I know, finally, for sure.
We’re never going to be together again.
We’re never going to have those beautiful brown babies.
I’m never going to marry that man I thought was the love of my life.
You with those brown eyes and dimples and the softest hands in the world.
I’ll probably still love you ’til the last beat of my heart.
But, this is my heart.
You can’t break it again.
You can go ahead and break someone else’s.
And you will, won’t you?
I’m just glad it won’t be mine.
Seven years, and I think this is: over you.
And my heart is still beating.
It’s beating without you, and I’m breathing deeply again.