By Kirsten Corley, author of But Before You Leave
It’s hard to describe it really. But for so long it felt like a vital piece to who I was, was missing. I’d wake up tossing and turning after another dream where you met me. I’d lay there for a while thinking about everything I did wrong.
The sweatshirt you gave me went untouched in the closet but never to be thrown away. Your favorite book dusted on the shelf. And the photobooth picture that aged with time began to fade just as we had over the years.
The place that used to be ours I took a lot of other guys over the years. But I always asked that they never seat us where we sat that first time.
There were still foods that made me think of you because you were the one to make me try.
There was still beer, I drank with you in mind because that was your favorite.
Your name stopped being mentioned in conversation. People stopped wondered about where you were or what you were doing. Everyone except me.
And every birthday I’d question texting and calling but I was afraid of what I’d find. I was afraid to discover you hadn’t missed me at all.
Our presence on social media didn’t exist and every sign that you were such a vital component in my life was untagged but not to be forgotten because I still thought about you and I felt empty when those thoughts took up too much time.
But the truth was you took a piece of me with you when you left.
“But the truth was you took a piece of me with you when you left.”
What you didn’t know was every Sunday I still prayed for you, asking God if you’d come back. Every year I still sent another card or wrote another letter hoping maybe you’d answer. And people asked me why I kept trying and I looked at a quote I wrote down on my wall that I read every day. “When someone is in your heart, they’re never truly gone. They can come back to you, even at unlikely times,” (Mitch Albom)
How many letters did I write they asked? 1 a year for the past 5.
5 years. 5 years and I still looked at my reflection seeing you there. Seeing parts of me that you made into the person I was because of the love you gave me, the things you taught me and the person you meant to me. The truth was I was myself and someone I was becoming proud to be but the truth was so much of who I became was because of you. And if you stripped me of all of it, you’d see a piece of you there too.
My life began to progress as it had for years.
Then one day it happened. Your name appeared on my phone like I had always wanted. Caught somewhere between excitement, fear, and disbelief I knew you were back.
Small talk turned into plans. Which turned into me doing 15 double takes in the mirror before seeing you. A million questions ran through my mind but for some reason, the answers didn’t matter. The only thing that mattered was we were back.
Skeptics in the background later became noise I ignored because it didn’t matter what they thought. The only thing that mattered was you.
And in a crowded room with people singing and a celebration underway I looked around at many faces then I looked at you. I felt whole for the first time in while like something in my life wasn’t missing anymore.
And I grabbed your hand and pulled you in because finally, I had gotten the only thing I continued to wish for, for a half a decade and my heart to be whole again.
Because you were more than just someone I had loved back then you taught me that love does not fade with the passing of time. You taught me love is strong enough to overcome time, circumstances and heartbreak. You gave me something to believe in, a blind faith I wondered existed. But somehow despite the doubt and the questions I never gave up. While many couldn’t understand and there were moments I couldn’t either I never stopped believing you’d find your way back to me.
I look at you now and people say I’m happier. The truth is I’m the happiest best version of myself when you’re standing beside me.
You should check out Kirsten Corley’s book, But Before You Leave, here.