The Lonely

Do we get second chances at great love? Or after one love leaves us lonely, is that simply what we tell ourselves to survive?

            He was the golden one. People would walk up to him and instantly open up; he just had that ease about him that somehow earned immediate trust. In my life I’ve met very few people like that. People with such a true, genuine energy that you don’t ever doubt their nature or intentions. He told me he loved me on the second date, before we were even officially together. At the time I was shocked (still am, if I’m being honest) that he could just know something like that, right off the bat. I thought it was just something he said at first, that he didn’t really mean it, but he did. He proved it for the next four years.

            We were so happy, but so young. After over four years together, I don’t necessarily regret breaking it off with him – we both still had so much growing up to do, and I felt we were holding each other back from following the possibilities that life presented to us. We knew that because of our relationship, both sides we were making compromises – decisions that would be easy if we weren’t together. I was only twenty-two. We fell in love before I was even eighteen – there was so much life ahead of us and I didn’t want us to settle down before we even had the chance to explore what there was to the world. It had been wonderful, but difficult to say the least. We were from different countries and had spent much of our relationship apart. But love knows no distance, right? We wanted to get married, just not yet. We were so in love, but I somehow felt that it wasn’t enough. I know how terrible that sounds. But love didn’t conquer all, and I was afraid there would be resentment down the line if we never got the chance to explore our independent lives.

Things rarely go according to plan. It wasn’t for lack of love that we broke up; it was lack of opportunity. Maybe we’d get back together – back then he said he wanted to, and told me we should keep in touch. My starry-eyed younger self sincerely hoped we would find one another again, later, when we both knew what we wanted to do and where to go and how to live as adults.

Then a number of years passed, and by pure happenstance I was on social media and remembered that it was his birthday. I clicked the link to his profile to send him a happy birthday message, and the very first thing I saw was a photo of him standing at the altar. He looked so utterly happy. And she… looked like me.

Although in the end I would be happy for him, at that moment I felt as though a knife had been jammed straight into my heart. With blurry eyes I closed the page and never went back.

It wasn’t for lack of love that I left, but was the opportunity worth it? Was I happy now, as a full-fledged adult, living independent of the only true love I’d ever had? I think of all the things I’ve accomplished in the six years that we’ve been apart. All the places I’ve been, the people I’ve met, the choices I’ve made, the chances I’ve taken. I believe that most of them would not have come to pass if I’d stayed. So yes, I suppose it was worth it. And yet, the lonely always seem to have regrets.

I like to think that if it were meant to be, it would be. But do we get second chances at great love? Second chances to give it our all? I like to believe so. No, I have to believe so. But the lonely always do.

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