Hey You [No. 1]

Hey you, if you’re reading this, you’ll know who you are.

Today is your birthday, which puts you in your late twenties (weird). I can’t honestly say why I’m writing this — maybe it’s because I haven’t really gotten over you, or maybe it’s because I’m finally trying to. All I know is that one of our many old songs just came on, and I miss you in this moment much more than any one man should ever be forced to.

We haven’t seen each other in three years, so I’m not sure what you look like, but I have no doubt that you are just as breathtaking as the girl I left behind (if not more so). In addition to being the better part of four years older than me, you were the most self-aware and emotionally mature person I have ever had the good fortune of knowing — so, about as polar an opposite to me as was virtually conceivable.

That said, I’d love to see how you’ve grown. Man, I wish you could see how I have — not because it would make you want me back, but because I’m a completely different, way better person now….and that is thanks entirely to you. No one has ever taught me so much, been so patient, or loved my crazy ass so unconditionally as you. For that, you should know that I will always be grateful.

Let’s face it, though, with me in the picture, we never really stood a chance. I was still a kid, and that’s no excuse for how I treated you, but it certainly was a factor. You tolerated my insanity for as long as was humanly possible, and then some (lending further credence to my longstanding theory that you are, in so many ways, much more than human). It was all I could do just to hold on, lest I lose the best thing that ever came into my grotesquely selfish youth.

For so long I was bitter and self-pitying about having driven you away, but nowadays, I don’t blame you in the least for leaving. Hell, I thank you for it, because at least now I know that you’re happy, that you’re with someone who deserves you — which we both know sure-as-shit wasn’t me — and while I will always wonder what could’ve been, I take solace in the knowledge that you’ve moved on to more fulfilling prospects than incorrigible old me.

When I get down to it, though, when I sit and think and really fucking force myself to take responsibility for what happened, it hurts like you wouldn’t believe; but that’s welcome, because I’m reminded of just how real you and I always were. I’m finally in a place where I can see that now, and it makes me cherish you all the sweeter. Would that I could’ve done it sooner, darlin’….but hey, better late than never, right?

And believe me when I say that I don’t regret a single moment of the absolute fucking hurricane that was our romance — not the moments spent waiting, hours spent bawling, days spent fighting or months spent recovering. I count every second that you spent in my life as a gift, and no amount of time or space will ever change that.

What’s more, at day’s end, there’s only one thing that truly matters, which is the fact that I can say — at any given moment, to any given soul, and without any trace of doubt in my mind — that I could die a happy man right here and now, knowing that, if nothing else, in my lifetime, I succeeded in loving another human being the way that I love you.

Last we spoke, more than a year ago, you said that you hate me, and that you never want to hear from me again. I believe and respect that (in fact, it’s the only reason I’m not calling) and yet, regardless of the hatred you harbor, I will never keep anything but love in my heart for you. That is a goddamned fact, one which some people might think of as sad — actually, you may very well even be one of them — but I’m okay with that, because I think of it as beautiful.

So hey you, wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, have a drink on me! Live it up in your late twenties the way I tried not to let you in your early ones. As for me, all that’s left is, well, hope. The hope that he still makes you as happy as when you chose to cut me loose, that you’re loving wholly and freely and doing way more than well; but above all else, the hope that maybe, just maybe, some miracle sees you thinking of me but once a day for all the many times I so fondly do of you.

You told me once that while you may never be my wife, and never I your husband, that you will always be my baby. If ever there have been truer words spoken, you can bet they weren’t heard by me.

Wishing you a happy birthday, baby girl, and many more to come.

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