I wonder if you remember the nights in which we lay side-by-side— you, bare-chested, and I in your favorite gray zip-up sweater.
The one with the white drawstrings. I wonder if you remember the nights I would “accidentally?? forget to bring my coat, simply so I could wear it home.
It felt like a blanket of comfort, rich with the smell of my favorite cologne you wore— the one that smelled of mahogany and campfire. The one you purchased overseas. It was exotic and rare, much like you.
I wonder if you remember the white dress I wore, the night you took me to our favorite place— the place at which so many of our memories were carved.
That white dress, I tried it on three times that Friday afternoon, studying every curvature; every inch of its impeccably sewn hem. Butterflies danced in my stomach as I walked to your door, knowing that was the type of dress men would tell their grandchildren about, while reminiscing with wonder in their eyes…
“She wore the prettiest dress I ever saw.?? With trembling fingers, I knocked at your front door, and you answered with that brilliant smile you wear so well.
You hugged me. You said hello. You didn’t marvel at my dress, and without another word, you returned to readying yourself for our evening.
You didn’t tell me I looked pretty. You didn’t tell me I looked sexy. You didn’t tell me I looked lovely. It would have been nice to hear any one of those words.
I wonder if you recall the times I visited your office before you arrived, to leave coffee and breakfast with your secretary, because you worked so hard you would forget to eat. I wonder if you enjoyed our mornings at “Frost Bakery?? as much as I did— we always sat at the same table in the corner.
I wonder if you ever stop and think about the way I so fondly loved pink peonies; the way I transformed into a giddy school-child anytime I was surrounded by blooming flowers.
No matter how deeply you knew I loved them, you never sent them to me. Not once.
I wonder if you remember the way, though I was a student of modest means, I never took advantage of the wealth you possessed— the way I never asked you for one thing. I always wondered how I could do so much for you with the little that I had, yet you could do so little for me, despite how very much you had.
I wonder if you remember the nights you had promised to spend with my parents and me.
They would anxiously await your arrival— anyone their daughter could love that much, they truly had to know more about. I wonder if you remember showing up late every time these evenings were to take place.
Some of these nights, my mother would finally excuse herself to her bedroom, tired from a hard day’s work and no longer able to wait for you.
I wonder if you remember what a very big deal it was for me to introduce to you my child— the person for whom I would give my last breath; the person I strived so hard to keep separated from any relationship I had taken part in previously. I wonder if you know how nervous she and I both were, when we were preparing to spend time with you together.
I wonder if you know how badly she wanted to like you. I wonder if you know how crushed she was, when you showed up an hour late to rollerblade with her. It was already dark, and she was much more mature than you gave her credit for.
She knew that this meeting with her, one she was so looking forward to, was not at all a priority for you.
I wonder if you will ever truly understand the sting of your words, the night you told me that children, to you, symbolized a “Lack of freedom.??
I wonder now how, if you truly felt that way, you would have wasted months of my time, knowing all the while that I could never spend my life with someone who did not love my daughter as much as they loved me.
I wonder how I, even after all the things you have done, and all the things you never did, still find myself searching for ways to explain your inconsistencies, your selfishness, and your complication.
I wonder when I will cease to ask myself why I was not enough. I wonder when I will no longer try to understand how you could tell me you loved me more than anyone else in the world, and then decide, for no specific reason, to move more than six hours away from me; all the while, expecting me to remain here, waiting for you.
I wonder if your heart broke the way mine did, when I finally mustered the gumption and self-respect to tell you that I was worth more, and deserved better.
I wonder if you cried the way I cried, when I decided to close the book we had written together.
I feel compelled, after months of sleepless nights, to tell you I am not angry with you. I do not hold any contempt for you.
I wish you well, and I hope you have found all you were looking for. I only want to leave you with this: I forgive you.
I pity you for losing the person who would have gone to the ends of the Earth for you— the person who, after everything, I still believe you loved as best you could at the time.
I pray that the next woman you fall in love with is showered with the love, friendship, and respect that you did not give to me.
I want you to remember that, though you broke mine, your heart is good. You, are good. You are smart, and kind, even if you are often too clouded by your positive intentions, to realize how often they fail to translate to positive actions.
I want to assure you, I am well. Though I miss you and think of you often enough to feel compelled to write you this letter, I have wasted no time in falling in love with my life— every second of it.
I have allowed myself to pursue the dreams I so painted out in the deep conversations we would have with one-another, those many nights which now serve as nothing more than memories I will always hold dear, some place deep inside my heart—the heart I have allowed so few access to.
The heart you stole from me one April afternoon, in a way that made me step back and realize that love at first sight is, in fact, a legitimate, serendipitous, force of nature.
Lastly, I want to thank you for teaching me to, above all else, remember that I am capable of finding great love.
You reminded me that I am worthy of great things, even though I didn’t find those great things in you.
You taught me to never settle for less than I deserve, even if it took walking away from you, for me to learn that very important lesson.
You taught me how to love another, but to always love myself more, and for that, I will forever be grateful.