We have all loved someone with all of our hearts but somehow let them slip through the cracks. Katy Perry sings about it in her song, “The One That Got Away.”
“And in another life I would make you stay, so I don’t have to say you were the one that got away, the one that got away!”
This is how I feel about J. I’m unsure how to sum up the most important relationship I have had in my entire life in a few paragraphs, but I’ll try.
I met J when I was 15 years old in a chat room online. He was 18 and lived in Arkansas. This was quite the distance considering that I was in Pennsylvania. He was the coolest guy. We chatted online for hours and soon we were talking on the phone as well. We sent letters and photos. We were both the free spirited, artsy types. I felt like I had met my soul mate but we were both so young. The distance was also a problem.
We talked for years and he finally decided to visit me. A few weeks before he would arrive, I found out I was pregnant. I had to break the devastating news to him and he cried. He cancelled his flight and we didn’t talk for two years. My other relationship failed and I realized that I loved J, this man I had never actually met. I felt I knew him as a person on a deeper level than any other human being.
Over the years, we continued this pattern of losing contact and then picking up where we left off. We left a mess of broken hearts in our path as we often kept the seriousness of our relationship hidden from our current partners. Finally, it seemed we were both on the same page after so many years, chat rooms, emails, letters, phone calls, texts. I flew to New Mexico where J was currently living. I was so excited and I could not stop talking about him on the plane. The other passengers became equally as excited and even let me exit first.
I got off the plane in Albuquerque and there he was waiting for me. My best friend, the love of my life, so many years later. I wasn’t nervous, I was so happy and complete. We spent one magical weekend together: hiking, visiting used book stores, and shopping. It was amazing. From there, we met all over the USA. Anywhere from Las Vegas to his sister’s shore house in Marilyn. He was my Johnny Cash and I was his June Carter.
Then he told me he planned to move to Pennsylvania to be with me. Shit got real.
I freaked. Could I give up my single life? I had the best of everything with him at a distance. I was selfish and immature. I wanted to have my cake and eat it too. Sure, I loved him but not enough to give him the commitment I had promised him for so long. The word “forever” was not in my vocabulary. The thought of settling down scared the shit out of me. So I told him that I didn’t want him to come. After 13 years, I told him not to come. He was beyond broken hearted. I thought he would wait until I was ready. After all, we were soul mates. Well, he didn’t wait; in fact, he got the rebound girl pregnant and married her.
For years, it haunted me. Still, we continued to talk and it was painful for both of us. About a year ago, he said he could no longer have me in his life. I realized I was okay with that. J is the most beautiful soul I have ever encountered in my entire life. He is kind, loving and most of all he is and always will be my best friend. I was blessed to have had so many years with him. I have found peace in letting go of what could have been and accepting what is.
When you truly love someone, you want the best for them even if you can no longer be a part of it. In the words of Dr. Suess, “ Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”