Thursday, October 4, 2012

Time & Perspective: A Letter


I have this fantasy where I greet you on your doorstep for your birthday, and much to my surprise you hurry me inside to join you and your family and friends to celebrate the occasion.  Years have passed since I’ve seen your face, years since I allowed things to end so poorly between us, yet you somehow dash away all those lost days and unspoken miseries by eagerly – gleefully! – taking my hand and leading me down the hall to where the rest of the party awaits your return.

To be honest, I don’t know exactly what happens next in this scenario, but there are enough snippets of imagination in my mind to form a vivid moving reel:  Your eyes and smile alit by the glow of birthday candles; your cry of “Duuuder!” in mock protest over some quip I make; that sweet and gentle smirk of yours that always makes my heart swell with pure, unadulterated joy; feeling your hand slip into mine underneath the table; standing outside with you as I’m about to leave, your arms wrapped around me through the inside of my coat, your face pressed against my chest like you used to; you wordlessly climbing into the passenger seat of my car so I can steal you away for the weekend, take you home.

And so I do.

It’s been nearly four years since I’ve seen you.  That’s such a long time – a high school diploma, a presidential term, a leap year come and gone – yet not.  ‘Cause while there have been many struggles, more than a fair share of defeats and far too few victories since then, the love I feel for you still remains as strong and vital as the last time I saw you.  And while the hurts inflicted by you and, worse, by myself, to us, have healed as best they could, there’s an ache that lingers just under the figurative scars that bear your likeness on the bruised and battered heart that stubbornly, defiantly beats away in my chest.  So while a lot has changed, it seems that I have kept true to my word that my feelings would not.  It’s both funny and fitting how what hurts the most – and goddamn if love lost is not the most relentless of all heartaches – also holds you most accountable.  Years later, I have plenty of new wounds to lick and injustices to howl about (or outright wallow over) – not to mention a few more worry and laugh lines in my face – yet I still find myself turning back to thoughts of you and how I could have done better.  And for that, Meli, I am sorry.  I am so, so sorry.  I know now that a lot of my anger was a protracted response to my frustrations with my previous relationship, which unduly ended in a lot of manipulative behavior from my ex and the loss of several close friends who chose her over me.  More importantly, I’ve come to understand that I was also suffering from post-traumatic stress brought on by my terrible experiences in West Africa.  I had just barely gotten a handle on myself and my emotions when I first met you, and then I went and made things even more complicated by trying to pursue an open relationship – a radically different lifestyle than any I had previously experienced – without having the understanding or patience required to make it fully work.  And never mind the fact that, monogamous or not, you simply were not ready for a serious commitment in the first place!  Still, I treated these things as little more than minor obstacles and pursued you with all the zeal, passion and persistence I can possibly generate for that someone who captures my heart.  In time I wore you down, and then finally won you over – but by then we had put each other as well as ourselves through the wringer.  And I’m sorry for that, too.

Not surprisingly, you continue to weigh heavy in my heart and mind, and I feel that I have still yet to find the words that might convince you to forgive me.  And that’s likely because I’ve yet to figure out how to wholly forgive myself – for my lack of patience; for not making you feel like you were more important than my impulses and desires; for my unnecessary (and frightening) flashes of anger; for demanding definitive answers when I could have just as easily been more diligent about helping you find them; for not knowing when to hold you closer (or let you go once and for all); for giving you any and every reason to cut off contact with me.  I feel particularly awful about that last one; it doesn’t take a genius to figure out why you changed your phone number or blocked my e-mails.  Whether or not I felt my anger was “justified” – the fact that I even have to put that word in quotes makes me wince – due to your (perceived) lack of compassion in the aftermath of our break-up, no matter who had the longer tally of grievances to hide behind, no one should have to endure such harassment.  Honestly, even if you have found – or one day will find – a way to forgive me for such despicable actions, I doubt that I ever will.  As it stands, much of my behavior toward the end still haunts me to this day.

However, sorrow and regret are not the reason why you remain a constant in my thoughts, why not a day goes by where I don’t reflect on you – on us – even if it’s little more than a passing reverie or a tiny snowflake of memory melting your name on my tongue.  Simply, I am still in love with you, Melissa.  Maybe not as madly or desperately as I used to be, but it is very much a love that has remained honest and true these last four years and counting.  (And, really, I’m all but certain that the intensity of such love smolders just below the surface, awaiting a grand and miraculous – and, yes, utterly ridiculous – rebirth.)  It is a love that has for better or worse set the bar for all future relationships.  It is because I lost such a love that I know better what I need from a relationship and how to pursue it with more caution, consideration and care.  It is because I lost you that I became determined to be even more vigilant about communication and commitment.  Anything less is a slap in the face to what we shared (and, alas, suffered) during our brief time together, and I simply cannot have it all be for naught.  You mean(t) far too much to me to do such a terrible thing to our legacy.  ‘Cause aside from a treasured collection of photographs and memories, that legacy is currently all that remains of us – and it’s very important for me to remember both the good and the bad.

If you asked me why I’m reaching out to you after so many years, I guess I would tell you that it was simply time.  I have been working up the nerve to do this for quite a while now, but something repeatedly told me to wait, then wait a bit longer . . . and then wait just a little bit more.  I once read that time doesn’t necessarily heal wounds but rather gives us perspective.  What could we have done differently?  What could have I done with the knowledge and experience I possess now?  Would we have had a better chance if we both weren’t so weighed down by our previous heartbreaks?  Can we move beyond our own past – our own heartbreak – and start anew?  That last question touches upon a notion that might be too ambitious (and/or terrifying) to even consider.  Maybe you have no interest whatsoever in even entertaining such a thought.  I can only hope that time and perspective might be on my side – at least enough to warrant some kind of response.

(How I would love the opportunity to tell you in person just how much I’ve missed you, Meli.  Madly.  Desperately.  I realize that now as I commit these words to the page.)

We had something good once.  Hell, judging by our rate of breaking up and getting back together, we had something good several times.  And I would like to think that if we could find such harmony despite the continuous upsets brought forth by the mountains of baggage we both brought to the table (as well as the inherent risks of navigating a relationship dynamic that was always going to be a tall order), I believe that we could still have more good times together.  I believe in reconciliation.  I believe in us.  Maybe not in any predestined way – we’d first have to take a leap of faith getting to know each other all over again – but I do believe that we’re not finished just yet, that something splendid and meaningful can still come from the ashes of what was.  And maybe such an idea belongs in the realm of fantasy, that strange and wonderful place where I’m heartily welcomed back into your life by simply ringing your doorbell . . . but I’m a man of possibility, Meli.  I excel at turning fantasy into reality.  And when it comes to you, I still have the will if you dare to show me the way.

And if not – if you just can’t bring yourself to bother, to try – I truly do understand.  And I begrudge you nothing.  Maybe you need more time.  Or maybe all the time in the world will never be enough.  This thought saddens me deeply, but I understand that, too.  I understand all too well the consequences of my actions; I live with them every day.

(It seems I’m burdened with far more regrets than I ever thought possible to accrue in my thirty-one years.)

Overall, what I want to say most is something that I cannot convey enough:


I am sorry.

Please forgive me.   Someday.

I miss you.  Madly.  Desperately.

I still love you.  Something fierce.  And true.

And it’s about time I told you so.  With all the heart I can muster.

And so I do.




velander said...


I wrote a letter to Melissa. I dropped it off as well as sent it to the only e-mail address I have. She doesn't have to respond, but I would like to ensure that she gets it. So I'm writing you.

If you could forward the link, it would be much appreciated. I know that's asking a lot . . . but you're the only one I can reach out to and still maintain a respectful distance.

I hope this message finds you in good health and good spirits.

Thank you.



Hi Justin,

I cannot help you. It would not be ethical of me considering her choice to cut off communication with you.

If it is meant to be, it will be. Your message will reach her on its own and she will respond if she is moved to do so.

I respectfully ask that you do not put me in this position again. I am not an emissary for you or an intermediary between you. I don't know you.

That being said, I empathize with your feelings. I am not being hard-hearted towards you, just loyal to one of my closest and oldest friends.

I sincerely wish you well on your journey to wholeness, and love, with or without Melissa.




I understand. And you're right, so I apologize. I won't bother you again.

Thank you for the kind words. Empathy seems to be in short supply these days, so it is appreciated.


Anonymous said...

Jesus man move on! Heart break sucks but it happens. You move on, you meet new people and you find something bigger and better. Don't sit around lamenting about something that didn't work. You've wasted four years doing that. Its not going to be easy, but you have to do it. Stop sleeping with every pussy you see and make real heart felt connections. You can be happy again if you let yourself. But you will never find anything if you dont let yourself. Hell youre so hungup on this gal if she came back you still wouldnt be happy because you're holding onto something that isnt real, memories youre making out to be better that they probably actually were because you've lost them. We all do it, and we all let go and move on, so do your self a favor and be happy.

velander said...

1.) I'm lamenting my own behavior, especially toward the end. Whether or not we would've worked is irrelevant at this point. I'm simply looking for closure. Whether or not she responds, this letter helps me find it.

2.) I don't necessarily equate reconciliation with a relationship. Simply, I love Melissa and still believe we could have something meaningful. That could mean anything for us. But seeing as there is no "us", I'm choosing not to speculate on what could be any further.

3.) My last four years haven't been a waste, and I find it insulting that you would say such a thing. Kell was an amazing girlfriend who loved and accepted me for who I am. Beth did the same -- and was an even better match. I wasn't longing to be with Melissa when I was with them, nor were they standing in her shadow. As I mentioned in the letter, Melissa became the watermark for future relationships -- not the be all, end all. And thanks to Kell and Beth, the bar has been raised even higher.

4.) I don't sleep with "every pussy I see", and I certainly do my damnedest to establish real heart-felt connections. I find these assumptions of yours to be incredibly tedious because they couldn't be farther off the mark. If you were really my friend, you would understand this at the very least. And if you're just an anonymous know-it-all who thinks they've got me all figured out, I will politely ask you to stop reading and responding further to my blog.

velander said...


A month ago I wrote you a letter and dropped it off at your parent's house. I sent it to your (old?) e-mail address as well. I would have sent it to your Facebook account, too, but I didn't think you were on the site. (One of my well-meaning friends alerted me to the fact that you were just yesterday.)

I've been wrestling all day long with whether or not I should attempt contacting you here. Chances are you did receive the letter in some capacity and have chosen not to respond, which I understand and fully accept. Still, it is *very* important to me that I do everything I possibly can -- within reason, of course -- to ensure that you receive it. Considering the state of things, this is the only way I know how to make peace with you -- or, more likely, the memory of you -- which might someday allow me to wholly make peace with myself. Please believe that I do not make this decision lightly. It's just . . . there are a handful of important people in my life who will never be able to say what they need to to that special someone they've lost, and so I say what I need to *to you* with that in mind.

Now that I know without a doubt that this message is going *directly* to you, I consider the task finished and will not bother you any further.