To Princeton and Back

The day he left for Princeton I cried myself to sleep. I had no idea it would hurt so badly to let him go, and I wasn’t really even sure of all the things I was feeling at the moment. It would be three days before I could fall asleep without eyes so tired from crying it ached to blink. To say it hurt is an gross understatement.

The day I left for San Diego, I didn’t even want to hug him. I said to him, “This feels like Princeton.” I’m not sure he fully understood what that even meant. But I did. I left him and went to get an oil change where I cried the entire time. Then I cried the whole way home. I made myself a margarita and salted the rim with my own tears. I wonder if he knows how hard it is to leave him?

This summer, the morning after was very normal. Too normal. Kind of like living together was too normal. We fall into these things so easily and never stop to ask ourselves why that is. Not until we are looking back on it. Together is so effortless, but separating is like severing and we hurt each other in efforts to make sure the other feels what we feel. We always fall apart apart.

This time I haven’t cried. In fact, I was proud of myself for being able to leave him gracefully. People say to me all the things they think I want to hear. But at this point, knowing what I know about him, us, and myself; there’s no need to pretend I want separation, temporary or otherwise. There’s no need to act as though if he calls, when he calls, no matter how furious I was or am, that I won’t answer. I will. And I’m not ashamed of that. Not anymore. I used to think it was weak…that I was weak in my love for him. That somehow the years, the ups, the downs, the longevity of ambiguity was illustration of my fool. However, letting him go–each and every time–meant growth. For both of us, and it was necessary. And a love that can let go, is a very strong love. And it is not foolish to love him, in fact it is the bravest thing I’ve ever done.

Right now, I’m angry with him. Correction, I’m hurt. And so I let him go again, in a way, and I wondered how many times will it feel like Princeton? Maybe it always will. But I’ve changed. I know the good it did then, and I know that if it’s not now (and if it’s not ever) that I’ve been open. That I’ve given all I had to give, and I let go when every single selfish part of me just wanted to hold on tighter.

I am grateful to have been loved and to be loved now and to be able to love, because that liberates. Love liberates. It doesn’t just hold—that’s ego. Love liberates. It doesn’t bind. Love says, ‘I love you. I love you if you’re in China. I love you if you’re across town. I love you if you’re in Harlem. I love you. I would like to be near you. I’d like to have your arms around me. I’d like to hear your voice in my ear. But that’s not possible now, so I love you. Go.’ — Dr. Maya Angelou

And I’m sure he’ll never read this. Nor does he need to. Because in our life as him as I as us, he knows it. But in case he does I hope he knows how much and how far.

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