To my former lover's future lover,
You don't know me. At least I don't think you do. You may have seen my initials on a book you borrowed from him. You may have seen my clumsy twenty-six-year old handwriting on an old birthday card. You may have seen me in a doodle in an aging coffee shop planner. But you still won't know me. You can't. Because the man you love holds many secrets and by now, I think I may have become one of them.
So before the hours erase everything like tidal waves rearranging the shore, allow me to tell you everything you need to know. You must understand what happened between us and know that I'm not trying to take him from you. This is not a bent knee pleading for you to return him to me. All this is is a stern reminder for you to never let him go. Not a day goes by where I don't regret taking the first feeble footsteps away from the man you now call your own.
You can ask about who I was or what I meant to him. He'll tell you my name. He'll tell you where we met. If you play it cool (don't push too hard), maybe he'll even tell you how long we were together. But he'll never tell you how I was his favorite person. He won't say how I once meant the world to him or that at one point, I was the axis in which his entire life revolved. He won't tell you, he can't tell you that although I am but a fading memory now, at one point his heart was an anchor and I was the vast expanse of the ocean floor.
You can ask if he told me the same things he's telling you now. He'll tell you about the laughs we had and the tears we shed in the three years we were together. He'll tell you your love is different, that it's nothing like what we had back then. He won't tell you about the moonlight on the night we first met or about how we wound our watches back three hours so we wouldn't have to part ways. He won't tell you about the kisses he stole from me that night or how he tapped the cab twice as it drove away. Those images were ours and we let them go that night we broke our promises to stay true to each other forever.
You can ask if he held me like he holds you now and he'll tell you that your fingers lock completely with his. Like jigsaw puzzle pieces thought separated for years, the minute your skin touched his felt like coming home. But he won't tell you about how I once scrubbed my fingers so hard, my knuckles started to bleed. About how I felt my palms were never clean enough, never white enough to touch his. I stopped trying to put our pieces together because I knew I had to let him go. I did it so he could find you.
You can ask if he loves you more than he loved me. He'll tell you that meeting you was like ending a long journey – that I was a layover but you were always the final stop. That we had some great times but in the end, he was just preparing for the time he was to spend with you. What he won't say is that at one point, it felt like we were facing a million sunrises and sunsets hand in hand. He won't tell you the names of our kids, the dreams we both shared, or the number of hydrangeas we were going to plant in our backyard. He will tell you that I was the mistake that made him see how right your love was. But he will never tell you about that night I whispered the exact same words in his ear.
You can ask why we broke up and he'll tell you it was because I needed too much, because I demanded too many things from him. He will tell you I was selfish, that I was needy, and unkind. He won't tell you about the nights I stayed up watching him sleep, wondering what I did in the past to deserve such a gentle, perfect man. He can't tell you about moments I spent staring at my reflection in the mirror, wondering what he saw in me, why he chose me out of all the strangers in the crowd. He won't tell you how I questioned his love because I didn't feel I deserved it. He can't tell you I felt unworthy because he didn't know. I didn't tell him. But I am telling you now.
And so when you hear about me, see my face in a Timehop or a passing glimmer in his eye, I want you to know that if I could have loved him the way you do, I wouldn't have to write you this letter. Please take good care of him. He was and always will be my life's biggest regret. Love him with all your heart. Love him the way I never could. And though you owe me nothing, please love him all your life for me.
All the best,
♫: Rachael Yamagata | Has It Happened Yet? (2012)