Sometimes People Leave
Suddenly our relationship became less and less about me, and more and more about you. You would ask me questions and leave before I even gave an answer.
When we met my eyes danced around you. When you cast a look my way I could barely breathe. You talked and I listened. With each word your face brightened and I almost had the feeling that in all your years previous no one had ever heard you; not like I did.
I am not exactly sure what happened next. Apparently for you, love was a feeling and not a choice. The second things grew comfortable I saw your eyes lingering in directions that were not mine. I bit my fist in silence. I tried to be someone you’d miss.
You no longer stood taller when I was near you, your shoulders were straight without me. I know that people change, and sometimes that’s their mind.
We talked, and I still hung on every word, but you no longer spoke as if you were waiting for my approval.
You had found your own accolades and mine had lost their magic.
Suddenly our bed grew cold and I lay awake most nights just hoping you would notice my eyes on you and ask if something was wrong. You didn’t. I am not sure you could feel my stare anymore, not like you used too.
Suddenly our relationship became less and less about me, and more and more about you. You would ask me questions and leave before I even gave an answer. You would stay out late with friends and eventually you just stopped coming home all together. We never even really talked about the distance that was growing between us. You just kept standing one foot further away from me each day. At some point you will reach out for me and I wonder if that will be the first time that you notice you have moved much further than an arm’s reach away.
They keep telling you that life is about the pursuit of your happiness, that I am a ball and chain that holds you back from freedom. Chase your dreams; just do you, Carpe Diem!
But they are so broken in their own misery that they do not realize while they fumble around in the dark with their tongues swollen and lips cracked, desperate for a drink of water, that love was the cup that would have soothed them.
You’ve cheated on me. You’ve gratified your own needs and desires before you ever had a second thought of me. I waited up for you and you never came.
You have made a mockery of the house we built and you should know that I am angry.
I am angry enough to confront you in a letter.
You will cry tomorrow. When the sun rises and you stretch your arms in the bed you’ve made, you will find a stranger beside you. Their arms will not hold you, and their ears will shrug off every word you cry. Their eyes will not dance around you and tomorrow you will feel the sting that I have felt as I watched you grow smaller and smaller as your figure kept stepping further and further away from me.
You will cry tomorrow. But tonight, you will finish your beer. Tonight you will laugh with friends and admire yourself in the mirror. Tonight you will think that you are invincible.
But you will cry tomorrow.
But until tomorrow, you probably won’t even realize how cold you are. Go and grab your blankets. You will wrap yourself in layers but your teeth will still chatter. Your hands will shake and the tips of your fingers will grow numb to match the dullness of your heart. You will burn to feel my arms around you.
And you will cry tomorrow…But my dear, when the first daylight breaks, I will still be singing your song.
Even after you have embarrassed me, even after you have humiliated me, even after you have strangled my heart in your bare hands, your now numb fingers will find it still beating for you.
You have brought strangers in to our bed and yet tomorrow, when you cry out to me, my ears will still warm to you. Because love is not a feeling for me, it is a choice, and I will choose to love you until the day you stop breathing, if only you would just call for me.
So this is an open letter.
To whom it may concern; when you wake up in the morning and find yourself shivering, know that before you even cried to me, I had already written this letter forgiving you.
Darling, I forgive you.
Just come home.
Because sometimes people leave. If only I knew how too.
“And do you suppose that God doesn’t care? The proverb has it that He is a fiercely jealous lover. And what He gives in love is better than anything else you will find.” – James 4:5-6
Editor’s note: This column was first published at The Spilled Milk Club.
Heather Thompson Day is a lecturer for Southwestern Michigan College, Purdue Tech University, and Ferris State University. She is the author of five Christian books and writer for The Spilled Milk Club. Facebook her, or check her out on Instagram.