We all have our own particular set of stories of endings. How they end, why they ended and whose fault it was. I’m sure I’m the culprit in most of mine.
I used to have this thing I’d say, whenever I felt like being dramatic, or leave a big impression. It worked the best in England because while I was dating more men at one time than I ever had in my life, I had my return ticket, my method of escape, sitting safely in the room of my rented flat. And it's working so well right now because we're in different states, and all I have to do is unfriend you on Facebook and stop returning your texts and calls. And I have to. This time, I have to disappear.
I would tell boys, men, and one girl that they shouldn’t get too attached, try not to count on me and to please, please not get too upset. I usually said this thing whenever things got too complicated or serious or hurtful or hard. I didn’t want to be around for the sticky parts of relationships, I’d seen what had happened in my parents and my friends’ parents to know that I didn’t want any part of what happens after the glow of the happy days are over and night returns. I would tell them not to worry; I would tell them that one day, before it became painful, before it just became too much -
I would disappear.
They wouldn’t be able to find me or contact me. I would hold them close, pull back just a little and whisper in their ear: “I wish you so many good things” and I would turn and walk away.
I was only ever able to pull it off three times, two boys in England and the girl. And now, you.
I was fond of the thought that I would be just another happy memory, someone they could look back on and remember kindly, without ever having fought or disappointed or enraged or betrayed. I was that funny little girl that they spent a few days, weeks or months with. I wanted to be transient. I wanted to be free to roam and move about without the strings and attachments of others’ needs and wants.
And then I cared, I cared about your needs and your wants. I wanted you to care about mine, and I really do think you did for a while. But you didn't read what I wrote. You didn't want to talk about the future. You didn't care about what I cared about. And then the funniest part was you were the one that disappeared. You drove away in that red truck with your furniture attached in a U-Haul behind it.
I have this picture, that I took on my phone, of you leaving our apartment, the apartment that would become only mine after you left, the apartment that felt so big and so empty and so cold and so lonely without your things or the TV to provide white noise or your bed to provide warmth. I remember taking it because I knew that I would never see you walking toward me from that door again. I wanted to capture that moment. And I've looked at it from time to time, but only the picture that I saw on Facebook tonight, the picture of you with your hand around another girl's waist, is the one that told me I now had to disappear. I had to stop existing in your feed. I needed to stop texting you late at night when I got drunk and lonely. I needed to stop thinking about you whenever I watched a show that we used to watch together.
But how do you disappear from your own life? How do I remove the person I was with you now that we are apart?
I'll let you know when I find out. Until then, I'll try not to disappear anymore. The only thing that I can do is appear, and show up for my own life. Because we only get one, we get this one shot at being happy. And I can't keep wasting time being unhappy over something that ended nearly a year ago.
So, I will say it again. I wish you so many good things. I wish you happiness. I wish you success. I wish you health and the luck to find someone that will make you happy.
I know now that person is not me.