I remember when we first met. Ten-year-old me crawled under the jungle gym steps and found you there. Although I was painfully shy, something about you put me at ease, so much so that I initiated conversation. From there, I don’t remember how, but we became inseparable. Mustaches, bananas, a collection of momos, a brief French obsession, and many cries of laughter were followed by a period in which suddenly, you were gone. Different friend groups were formed, and we seemed to be on separate paths.
In high school, our paths collided again, and it was as if you had never left. You were all that I needed—nothing else in the world mattered as long as I had you. You understood me, you gave me confidence, you taught me how to stand up for myself. Together, we battled demons, cried over silly boys, shared our trauma, and laughed until we couldn’t breathe. Every day with you was a good day.
As time went on, our relationship evolved. We talked about our future, our dreams, our desires. We shared kisses, although they were almost always in the eyes of the public and labeled as nothing more than a show or practice.
Together, we discussed our insecurities, always understanding, but never able to help one another. These insecurities manifested into a team effort of constantly trying to prove ourselves in one way or another. We lied together, manipulated together, conspired together. We hated ourselves but loved each other. Although I knew you were not perfect, I thought, and will forever believe, that you are incredible. If only we had seen what we saw in each other in ourselves, maybe we would be ruling the world right now.
You stepped away, and I am not angry with you. You showed me what unconditional love felt like and gave my life meaning, fleeting as it was. In your absence, I was forced to face my demons on my own instead of relying on you to pull me out from the depths. I learned how to love myself. I learned how to fight for myself. I learned how to live for me.
I do not know why you left, and I probably never will. Regardless, I will always love you. I am happy that someone was able to drag you out of the dungeon when it was clear that I was no longer able. However, you are stronger than you know. I hope that one day you will see all of the beautiful things I see in you and make the difficult climb to leave that dungeon for good. Maybe you already have, in which case, I am proud of you.
Thank you, lover, for what I will always remember as some of the happiest times of my life with the best person I knew.