This is the hardest thing I will ever write.
It started a little more than six years ago. I met you at a concert in Philadelphia. I didn’t think much of you then. You followed me around all day with those big blue eyes and I thought nothing of it. You annoyed me actually.
You were persistent, and I liked that about you. You annoyed me, but you had so many traits that I admired. You were easy to talk to. You were kind. You knew how to make me laugh. We shared similar interests and values. But of course, you were just a friend.
Your entire existence conflicted with what I wanted in life; with who I wanted in life. You were wild and had experienced so much in just 18 years. You didn’t want to settle. I was 19 and in my first year of college, and didn’t know what my future held. I had a very clear idea in my head of the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. You weren’t it.
You were always persistent. Despite how busy I was working and going to class, day after day we would text, talk on the phone, Facetime, send each other Tweets, and so on. There was never a time where we weren’t connected. I loved to hate that about us.
I turned 20 and decided I wanted an adventure. You were in bootcamp in North Chicago and I suggested that I would come visit. I had never traveled on my own. You agreed, and we made arrangements. Little did I know, that this would be the trip that ruined me forever.
I got on the plane, full of excitement and butterflies. I didn’t know why I was feeling them. I was just going to visit a friend; nothing major. We were going to meet downtown at Ogilvie Station. I got lost trying to find it. When I first saw you exit the train platform doors, we ran up toward one another and embraced each other with a force and closeness I had never felt — and that is when my life changed.
I didn’t know what was in store for us. I didn’t know that our first kiss was going to be on the top of the ferris wheel at Navy Pier that night. I didn’t know that we would spend the evening tangled in that hotel room bed. I didn’t know what was happening, and honestly, I didn’t care. I was happy. For once in my life, I felt happy.
I went back to Pennsylvania, and you went back to bootcamp. You got assigned to be in San Diego a month later. The distance between us just got larger, but I didn’t care. I wanted it to work.
You came back to Pennsylvania before they sent you to San Diego, and I promised I would drive 3 hours to see you. I will never forget that day. Unfortunately, it would be the last time I saw you for a few years.
We continuously found ourselves in a rigorous cat-and-mouse game for the years to follow. I would date someone; you would talk to me. You would date someone; I would talk to you. When it failed on both ends, we talked to one another. I didn’t mind it though, because we always found our way back to each other again.
I was in my last year of college. You called me one December night, drunk out of your mind. You confessed your love for me. You said “I want you from the beginning to the very end.” Though it didn’t make sense, I knew what you meant, and the cycle started all over again.
We decided to plan a visit after 3 years of not seeing each other. I flew to San Diego to spend 10 days with you in your apartment on the naval base. It was the new start with you I had craved for years.
We got a little drunk one night and got carried away. I found out two months later that I was pregnant. We agreed on an abortion. I want to say more about this but it’s hard for me to put it all into words. It still haunts me to this day.
I asked you if I could move to San Diego to be with you after I graduated college. I wanted us to finally be in the same place at the same time. You told me no. Later I found out it’s because you had a local girlfriend that you didn’t want me to know about.
At 23, I decided to move to Chicago after graduation and have a new start. I wanted to be with you but you still had a few years left in the Navy, and you didn’t want me to be in San Diego. I figured, Chicago was where we got our start, why not go there and make it our forever?
You told me you were afraid of me. You said you were afraid of how much I loved you, and how much you loved me. You said you were afraid of how intense and serious our connection was. You confessed to the secret local girlfriend that I had my suspicions about, but said you didn’t want to be with anyone else ever again. We finally made it official and started dating. I shouldn’t have forgiven you then, but I did. I should have hated you then, but I didn’t.
Things were rough because of the distance, but one thing was certain: the love we had for each other was on fire. We were wildly passionate about one another. We made several trips back and forth to see each other, but each time left us with wanting more. I have come to learn from this situation that sometimes just loving someone so much is not enough.
I always had my suspicions about your girl best friend. I knew in my gut she liked you, and that she always had. You denied these statements every time I made them.
You asked me in April if she could move in with you and your other roommate because there was an opening and her lease was up. I was not keen on the idea. I believe I said no several times because of how uncomfortable it made me feel. Truth be told, I didn’t trust her. I knew she would try something. Eventually I gave in, and said she could, but that there would be some ground rules in terms of what questions I could ask in order to ease my mind and reassure me with her being around. As I’m sure you recall, there wasn’t much reason for me to trust you either.
We broke up in May — two weeks after I resigned my lease for the apartment you were supposed to live in with me. I was now stuck by myself in a city that I hated. I hated the lifestyle. I hated the people. I hated the apartment that I once loved. I hated everything, but somehow I didn’t hate you.
We kept in touch, constantly actually. You still called and texted me every day. We still told each other about our days. We were both unprepared for what was to come.
My mental health started to decline rapidly. My therapist wanted to admit me to in-patient therapy, but I didn’t have the money. You sent it to me so that I could get the help I needed.
Time went on. I got a little better. I was released from the in-patient facility, and quickly started acting out. I was doing drugs and partying a lot, and you stuck to your reserved roots. We still talked every day. You were concerned, but just wanted me to have fun and feel free. I took advantage of that. I’m 25 years old and still sulking over my ex-boyfriend, so what better way to cope with the loss than with partying and drugs?
You came back to Pennsylvania for the holidays, and I promised I would drive 3 hours to see you, just like I had done years before. I will never forget that day. It was the first time I had seen you in person since we broke up.
We spent the day together in Harrisburg; we went to the bookstore and the coffee shop, walked around the city, and sat on the swings at the park. I asked you about a photo of you and your roommate that looked very couple-like that was on Instagram, and I said, “You know how this looks, right?” You denied and said that it was just because your other roommate didn’t want to be in the photo.
As the sun started to set and I knew I needed to make my journey back home, I felt so strongly in my gut that I didn’t want to leave you. I would rather die than be apart from you again.
I dropped you off at your cousin’s house. We didn’t even hug goodbye. We were both hesitant to leave but knew it’s what we had to do. I started to drive away, and not even 30 seconds down the street I started hysterically crying. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t see. I called a friend to calm me down and he said “You need to tell him, Lydia!” — so I did.
I texted you and told you I was crying. I said how I regretted not hugging you goodbye. You replied almost instantly and said “I regret not kissing you, so there’s that.” I abruptly turned the car around and headed back toward you.
I picked you back up and you kissed me immediately. I hate to say it but my soul left my body with that kiss. I had craved it for so long. I had craved you for so long. We couldn’t stop so we drove to a clearing in the woods. You know the rest. You played Heavenly by Cigarettes After Sex as I drove you back to your cousin’s house.
I started on my 3 hour drive home that night, intoxicated from your kiss and the connection that we built once again. I didn’t know that would be the last time I saw you.
Time went on, and things were good. You said how you wished you could come home to me. We talked about visiting each other again, but you were unsure of the timing because you were trying to start a new job. We were desperate to make it work; well, at least I was.
You started to grow distant. I asked you about it several times. I asked you if there was someone else. You told me you just were afraid of hurting me again. You said there was no one else.
Valentine’s Day rolled around, which is a particularly hard time for me because that is the anniversary of the abortion I had for what would have been our child. The day was already off to a rough start. I had a disgusting gut feeling that something was going to happen that day, but I tried to brush it off.
I happened to look at your roommate’s Instagram story and saw a post of beautiful flowers on the table in your home, captioned “Thank you my love,” with you tagged on the image. I ran to the bathroom and threw up. My worst nightmare had come true.
I asked you about it, you initially denied and said how the two of you talked about needing more plants in the house so you thought buying her those flowers would be a nice gesture. On Valentine’s Day? You always thought I was a fool. I knew you were lying. Sparing the details, you eventually confessed to having been with her for quite some time.
I know that my actions were toxic as a response to trauma, and for that there is no excuse. However, my intentions were never evil or to hurt you. I was lost. I was hurting. I was dealing with the greatest loss I had ever experienced. I was fighting for my life, and my mental illnesses were winning.
I said I wanted to come to San Diego. In the heat of the moment, I did not express the intentions of that statement clearly. I really just wanted to come to talk to you in person and explain everything that I had done, face-to-face, so we could fix it. But, it was interpreted as a threat. Now, I sit here with a 3-year restraining order.
I left out so many details from our story as I find them to be sacred — for you and me only. I have done a lot of terrible things to you, as you have done a lot of terrible things to me. We can’t take back what has already happened. I just wish you wouldn’t have given up.
Time has gone on and I’ve grown so much as a person. I have learned to deal with my mental illnesses more proactively. I’m finally doing things that make me happy. I’m leaving this city I hate to move somewhere I actually want to be. I am living for me now, not for you. I hope you’ve changed for the better, too.
There are so many things that I would go back and relive if I could, as well as go back and change. Surprisingly, I wouldn’t turn you back into a stranger. But, I didn’t know that was our inevitable outcome.
The last time we spoke was March 14th. Don’t worry, I’m not counting or anything.
This is the hardest thing I will ever write. I hope you read it.