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To the Next Man Who Tries to Love Me

You won’t know me, at first.  

You won’t know why I pull away whenever your hand brushes mine.

You won’t understand why I change that song every time it comes on the radio, or why I can’t stand the sight of peanut butter cookies.

You won’t know why my face falls when you ask me about that beat-up teddy bear on my shelf.

The night you first suggest we try that restaurant, you won’t understand why I ask to go anywhere but there.

You won’t hear me talk about my past, or know why I change the subject every time you ask about it.

You don't see that beneath my smile, I am still hurting.

I won’t know you, either.

I don't know if you’ll reach for my hand a second time, or just let go.

I can't know what song will be playing the first time you put your arms around me, or which dessert we’ll make together during a late night storm.

I won’t know how to tell you I couldn’t bring myself to get rid of that stupid bear he gave me, the one I cried myself to sleep with after he left.

I don’t know which restaurant we’ll go to the first time you tell me you love me, or if I'll be able to say it in return.

I don't know if you’ll respect my silence or ask for the truth.

I can't see if you’ll find a crack in the wall I’ve built, or simply walk away.

I don't know if you’ll break my heart, too. 

You might give up because it’s all too much. If you do, I won’t blame you. I will want to tell you all of those things are a part of me, of a past I shared with him.  I’ll want to ask you stay, to look at me and see the girl who is desperately trying to piece herself back together.  

I won’t do this, though, because I don’t know you yet.

On the other hand, you may just do the impossible. You might take my hand in yours and tell me you’re not going anywhere. You could ask all the right questions and give me space when I need it.  You may even break down that wall, piece-by-piece, to uncover someone worth waiting for.  

If you stay, if you wait just a bit longer, you will see how beautiful that girl really is. I may not know you yet, but if you are patient with me, I promise you my heart will be worth the wait. 

That is the one thing I do know.