All I wanted was you. All I wanted was you. – “All I Wanted,” Paramore
I graduated from a community college with my Associate of Applied Science in Electronic Media Production degree. Say that five times fast… I am a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the honor society for the two-year college, and I was able to speak at my graduation ceremony. It was epic. Over 10,000 people in attendance. It was the largest crowd I’ve spoken in front of to date. And it really was a great speech. One I almost wish I hadn’t given because it haunts me today. I don’t have what I had then. And the moments leading up to the speech have me quite down today.
The Ex and I were in a rough spot at this time. She had tried to go back to The Girl, an ex she never got over who had broken her heart. I found out later they were only together three months and The Girl had no intention of letting The Ex back in, but The Ex wanted her back and didn’t hide it very well. The Girl had gotten pregnant and told The Ex she was staying with the baby-daddy. The Ex was devastated. Like had to hide from me as she cried in the shower devastated. But I knew it. I could see it. And it killed me inside.
The day I graduated we decided to move to a bigger place, a place that was just ours so we could start over. She wanted to go look at furniture, but as we were about to walk out the door I stopped her and told her I wasn’t going to buy anything until I knew she was going to stay with me and check back into the relationship. She looked at me somewhat softly and said of course she would. Things would be fine again. So we went, bought a couch, had lunch, and enjoyed each other’s company. It was a good day.
At the ceremony she doted on me, took pictures and cheered for me, and when I texted her I loved her right before I went up to speak she told me how awesome I was. I walked up to the stage, excited and confident, and took a selfie with the other 1,200 graduates. I thought back on writing my speech, where I basically thanked The Ex and my college friends for helping me come out graciously, and told the world how proud I was to have The Ex and The Kid by my side. It made my mother cry – not in a good way. She had to leave because she wasn’t ready to hear me make that declaration in public. I remember how much doubt I had about saying those things out loud. There was no turning back after that. And it was my way of telling The Ex that we were going to make it. “Look, I just told a chunk of our city that we are together so you can’t leave me now!” I had revised my speech several times in case The Ex and I broke up before I gave it. But after our talk earlier in the day I knew it would be rough but we would be okay. We would start over in a new place with a new life and we would make it.
She left me five months and five days later.
She never did check back in to the relationship.
She never got over The Girl. Still isn’t.
Yet here I sit, in the new house we made ours, with nothing but empty space and room after room of memories. We weren’t even here that long, but I still see her around every corner. I still hear her say “Hey” every time I walk in the door after work. I still sleep on my side of the bed and look over when I wake up to see if anyone is next to me.
I don’t want her back. Really I don’t. Far too much damage has been done on both sides. She has a new family and a new life, and my life is beginning to take shape in a far different direction. Sometimes I wish we still had contact, but I understand why we can’t. Mostly I just wish the memories would stop bringing pain. I see old pictures of us together, smiling, and I can tell if it was a time when we were truly happy or truly struggling. The damn Facebook memories option is killing me… I see these old posts I made, the pictures that were posted, the comments made, and I can still feel the things I felt before. Scared, confused, angry, hurt, worried, confident, relieved. I made a public declaration of our love, but even that couldn’t hold us together. Neither did me asking her to stay and check back in and not give up on us. Those are the things I wish would fade. To just have the memories without remembering how happy, or unhappy, we were. So much happened behind the scenes… And I still fight with it today.
How fair is that?