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I Can't Make You Love Me If You Don't

We had been on this carousel together since 2011 -- a seemingly insignificant period of time in, but at present, that's a substantial era of my life. I sit here trying to recount the bad memories but I can barely find a handful. You've made it impossible for me to hate you.
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You just stopped loving me.

I've had my heart broken before, on smaller scales, but none even remotely like this. With this, I had no warning. No "danger ahead!" or neon sign glaring in my brain. Everything was so wonderful. And then it wasn't.

We started doing long-distance last summer, after over a year of being inseparable. You left for a two-year abroad program with your medical school, and I stayed home. And I waited. The first semester was arduous for both of us. I had lost my job and was feeling extremely vulnerable, unstable. You had just started a new school, in a new country, and were feeling extremely homesick. We adjusted, slowly, to the new norms of our relationship. You were my crutch in those four months and you weren't even around. You took my venting, my tears and my frustration in stride. I don't know if I ever said thank you for that. Thank you.

You came back for holiday break in December. I was so excited. Had I had access to a marching band, I'd have probably welcomed you back with one. Instead, I just went to the airport with your mom, sans musical fanfare. You got off the plane, and I remember watching you walk towards us with your suitcase, my only thought being: I'm so happy he's home. We had a beautiful, activity-packed few weeks. There were holiday parties, dinner extravaganzas, brunches, movies and everything in between. You left and, while it hurt, I couldn't help thinking that maybe we'd be alright after all. I thought we could keep the magic going.

The second semester was different. You had settled in better, developed a larger friend group and the text messages went from extremely frequent to periodic. I missed you but with a new job to focus on, the ache wasn't as tender. I longed for you, but it didn't consume me as it had before. You felt the same. You had a newfound comfort down there but you still missed me. I loved when you let me know. Long-distance felt worth it when my phone would illuminate with a message indicating that someone thousands of miles away loved me, missed me and couldn't wait to see me.

A month shy of second semester coming to a close, you surprised me with the kindest, most enormous gesture anyone has ever done for me. You came home. You weren't supposed to but Easter weekend was a longer break for you and you said you really missed me. You said you had to come home to see me. You landed on a Thursday evening and you left Tuesday morning. It was the best four days we had ever spent together. We did all our favorite things. We lavishly brunched, visited museums, drank copious amounts of wine, explored Manhattan and talked about everything and anything. We walked through the Upper West Side, chatting about the apartments we wished we lived in, maybe one we'd have together. I never wanted it to end. I wish I knew when I put you on the plane that Tuesday morning that it would be the last time you'd kiss me and really mean it. I'd have held you longer.

You came home for your longest stretch -- five weeks -- a month later and the plans were all set. There were vacation plans, Broadway tickets purchased, reservations made and gifts bought. I surprised you with a pair of sunglasses you wanted. You accepted them half-heartedly as I drove you home from the airport. I thought you were just tired. A mere four days later, you called it quits. You ended everything before we could even start it up again. I asked why and you said your feelings changed. In the four weeks since you left after Easter, you went from being happily in love with me to, using your words, "not seeing a future with me." You were in tears as you said it, and I remained stoic as the words poured out from your mouth. Nothing's ever cut me deeper than that.

We had been on this carousel together since 2011. A seemingly insignificant period of time in the grand scheme of things, but at present, that's a substantial era of my life. It's the era in which I graduated college, opened my heart in ways I'd never done before and had more fun than I could have ever anticipated. It was an era where I was a part of a "great partnership," a "beautiful couple," and people thought you and I were "perfect together." It seems so insane that these seemingly innocuous words are now shattered shards of glass in my heart. I sit here trying to recount the bad memories in our time together and I can barely find a handful. You've made it impossible for me to hate you.

I don't know what the future holds for me and I don't know what the future holds for you but I would be lying if I said that I hadn't always thought we'd hold hands into the dark together. I've loved you, and I still love you with that enormous, all-encompassing, fiery-type of love. If I could have changed anything to keep you, I would have. But I can't change your mind so I can only wish that you felt about me what I still very much feel about you.

You once played "Vienna" for me on the piano at the country club where we first met. So, please don't mind if I take a note from Mr. Joel's book and "take the phone off the hook and disappear for a while." The haunting lyric, "Vienna waits for you," stings me now. I know it's true. I also know that if you do change your mind, I'll meet you there.

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