I met him when I was sixteen and he was twenty-four.
I had no business falling in love with him at that age, but I did — I fell hard.
Oh, and he was my boss.
Despite the age difference and authority problems, we became good friends fast, perhaps if only for the fact that I practically demanded it of him.
For four years or so, we were inseparable as friends, and then one night, one David Bowie filled drunken night, we had sex for the first time, and then everything changed.
Of course, I fell harder and deeper in love.
He fell into the steady routine of keeping me satisfied even though I knew that somehow, someday it would all end.
Sometimes you just have that feeling, you know?
I always knew that it would end with him, even though I kept pushing harder and pushing forward with the most tumultuous, un-relationship I’d ever had.
Of course, he wouldn’t lower himself to being my boyfriend.
I don’t know what he thought of me back in those days.
Maybe I was his best friend that he slept with sometimes, maybe I was a foolish girl in love that he used for company when he wanted me.
I just know that this escalated, things with us kept pushing forward even though I was filled with fear the whole time, the fear that I would lose him because he wouldn’t commit to me.
I remember the first time he told me he loved me, I was the biggest I’d ever been.
We were in bed, wrapped in each other in the dark, and he talked about wanting to have a baby with me, and I said yes, yes, right now.
We started planning on moving in together. We started talking about moving away to California and starting a whole new life together.
This is where the story changes.
I came home from work one day and we had to have a talk.
“You know I can’t be with just you forever, right? I love you, and I want you in my life forever, but I have to be with other people.”
The one thing he wasn’t willing to give me.
Everyone has their own ideas about monogamy.
Everyone has their own ideas and feelings about sex and relationships, period.
But, I never saw this conversation coming, and all of my dreams of us spending the rest of our lives together and making little brown babies vanished from my mind and was replaced with a black wall of anger and hurt that I couldn’t break through.
I know I can’t share my lovers, let alone share the one I love the most.
I don’t remember the rest of the conversation that we had, but I think it was short.
I can’t do this, I said.
I can’t agree to letting you fuck other people while we’re trying to have a relationship, and if you’re telling me this now, I have to just go.
So I went.
I walked out on him, ten years ago, and I haven’t seen or spoken to him since.
I’ll never forget the moment I got in my car and saw him through my windshield, standing in the doorway with his phone to his ear.
Who was he calling in that moment I ran out?
It wasn’t me.
Who was he calling to tell about what had just happened?
I’ll never know.
I’ll never know how he felt, what he thought, or how it was that after ten years it was so easy for him to let me go.
He never came after me.
He never called.
He never reached out to see if I was okay.
He didn’t do a single thing to fight for me.
Ending a ten year relationship so abruptly, and without closure, has broken me in ways I haven’t even begun to be able to express, because I hadn’t told this story first.
This story of utter humiliation — me thinking that this person loved me when he clearly didn’t, because you fight for the people you love.
I know this much is true.
Ten years on, and I haven’t recovered.
I’ve had one two year relationship since him, and that was with a married man, so I don’t think it counts but to show how broken I still am, and feel I still will be until I find a way to deal with the feelings I’m still carrying.
Shame. Utterly useless. Unlovable. Trash.
Ten years it’s been over, and all I have to show from a relationship that began twenty years ago is a broken heart that hasn’t healed, and a heart full of stories I’m too afraid to tell, because they are his stories, too, and what if I get them wrong?
What if I shouldn’t even care?
I know this much is true:
He was the love of my life, and I am not holding out hope any longer that there will be more love for me.
I know I’m only 36, but I’m a broken woman.
I don’t know if anyone else will be able to take my trust and stitch me back together again.
I can only hold out hope that one day I will forget the picture of his face and the sound of his voice, and the way he said my name when the words ‘I love you’ were attached.
Ten years on, and that’s still a lot to hope for.