To you—I hope that you don’t read this, because I think it’s a hard thing to read that you are being talked about instead of talked to; so tread softly, take the words lightly, and simply know that you gave me the adventure to write about, and to that gift, I am forever grateful. Thank you.
Missing you feels like an aching jaw, a knot in my throat, and a lump so deep in my stomach that I don’t hold my breath, but somehow, the air stays suspended. Short, quick gasps escape— part out of necessity; part due to acquiescence. The breaths vary in intensity and space, while space and time maintain their fluidity. We are both carried quickly in the current of our separate directions. My days are filled with new colleagues, a new lifestyle, and being home. Your days are filled with, I don’t know what, but I imagine it’s the way that you like. I imagine that you are happy, and even though I miss you more than I would have imagined that I could after only knowing each other a short time, I can honestly say that I am happy too; even with the war I now wage against Los Angeles traffic.
I spend hours on the 405 freeway, creeping slowly away from my work days in The Valley, towards evenings snuggled amidst beach life. It’s the podcasts of business greats who comfort me through the car stereo or The Chainsmokers who serenade, “We are never gettin’ older.” I know this is somewhat misguided information though, as we are gettin’ older. It’s proved by the fact that you, the genial Sagittarius, recently celebrated a birthday, and I, the ever complex Capricorn, could not bring myself to wish you a happy one. I can’t pretend that I don’t care, or trick my heart into feeling nothing when it obviously does. Wishing you ‘Bon Anniversaire’ would have brought you too close, when I’m still not ready to leave you far away.
It’s close to ‘The 2’ or— on a good day— immediately before ‘The 10,’ that my driving pace turns to “parked.” This is when the daily debates and discussions that we once had over Whatsapp replay loudly in my mind. Or, that kiss captured on a glistening St. Germain street reignites the elation of walking hand-in-hand with you in the rain. And, the way you joked about the locks on the bridge by Musee D’orsay; with your Australian accent that had this way of causing the corners of my mouth to turn upwards into a half-smile of intrigue. I relive the delight of wandering through fall scattered leaves and brick laden paths in the Cimetière du Père-Lachaise. The moments I remember create a storybook, which I am inclined to re-read. Although the chapter has ended, I feel like I transport myself out of traffic and back into a Parisian fairytale with these daydreams. This is not a game of virtual reality, but so fresh and so real, that in some ways, I hope I never forget. For now, I turn back the pages in my mind and ill advisedly scratch at the healings of my heart. I know I need to read the last two words and push myself to accept, ‘The End.’
My stalled car moves forward, jolting me past a cluster of Westwood high-rises, and that last look you gave at Charles De Gaulle Airport. It was a gaze of care, comfort, uncertainty, and sureness. I wouldn’t stop crying. I did not want to say goodbye, and for the first time, you were a goodbye that told me that goodbyes were two-sided. We were in the same boat. It was a goodbye that said this parting of ways was always slated to be difficult, and you had been intelligent enough to anticipate its difficult nature on the horizon. It didn’t mean you desired the route of leaving— before or after we were forced to take it— but we faced it in our own ways; me dramatically, and you in a much more stoic fashion.
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Human emotion is expressed individually, and never should we judge those who display perceptions quietly, intensely, softly, slowly, loudly, quickly, tearfully, apathetically, passionately, or the like. The best we can do— in response to those who display feelings that we do not quite understand— is to be patient and kind. Most often, we find ourselves believing that we are alone in the world, not because we are, but because we fail to recognize the manner in which the people around us continually communicate. I only saw, and sadly still only know, my side.
In a way, I wish that I could be angry, as that could give me empowerment to move away from that missing piece that now exists, but in this instance, my only weapon is time. Time and positivity. And space. It’s almost incomprehensible how much space and time rests between us. You are living in the future; I am living in the past. That’s the reality of Sydney to The City of Angels. Check the time-zone differences to shatter any disbelief to that fact. At 10am tomorrow for you, it’s 4pm today for me. Somehow, between today in Los Angeles, and tomorrow in Sydney, we had yesterday in Paris. It wasn’t enough, but I’m thankful it was what we had and what I still have. Hours after I first met you, you told me that, “If you don’t actually have the adventure, you can’t write about it.” I don’t think I need more content to write about, but I’ll probably keep looking and taking and jumping into the adventures anyway, even after experiencing missing that I cannot change or control.
I smear a stray tear across my face, as a shiver of emotion courses through my body. Head down, eyes closed, my chin meets my knees as I sit in reverence— to heartache. I ponder in silence and respect my powerlessness to alter current reality. I’m not even certain I want to change anything if it was in my power, because what is the point of forcing, controlling, or demanding different of what was meant to be free? Love, in it’s nature, lives by letting go. I said that time and positivity would be my confidantes and sidekicks to moving forward, but what I failed to mention, and maybe what I should be angry at you for is the way you set the bar. You ruined me.
You ruined me from dating assholes. You ruined me for settling. You ruined me for thinking I’m not good enough, pretty enough, smart enough, talented enough. You ruined me. And for that, I will always be grateful. Not everyone in your life is always meant to stay. Maybe some were just meant to ruin you.