We all hold on to that person who changed our lives in every way — the one we didn’t expect to meet when we were out exploring the world, discovering ourselves, learning about the people around us.
It’s not every day you come across one of those individuals. The ones who you’re drawn to, whether by a physical attraction or a spiritual force seemingly beyond your control. The ones who take you on late night adventures in Italian streets, getting lost at 4 am amidst the smell of fresh bread and the sounds of drunken laughter. The ones who you stay up all night talking to, discussing music and philosophy, relationships and life goals. The ones who lie in bed with you until 2 pm because your bodies fit together like a finished puzzle; all you had to do was walk into an apartment in Italy in order to find the missing piece.
The ones who make time stop.
You feel as though you’ve struck gold. How can you be so lucky to have found someone you connect with on all levels; spiritually, emotionally, physically and intellectually? How is it possible for someone like this to exist in real life? What are the chances of running into this person halfway across the world?
Of course, life is not that simple, and you both know that time doesn’t stop for anyone. When it’s finally time to part ways, you hug goodbye, kiss one last time and promise to let each other know if you’re ever in the same city. You don’t know when you’ll ever see each other again. You pack your bags with a heavy heart, because you’re not only leaving a place you may never return to, but a place you will always remember as the Italian city where you met him.
Time has flown by, and you’ve moved on with your life. You’ve accepted that although there was nothing wrong with your relationship, timing really is everything, and it’s not often that time is on your side.
But sometimes you still find yourself wondering. He travels across your mind when you least expect it, like reading a quote you know he’d appreciate, or running your fingers along the lining of a beanie you know he’d wear. Sometimes, you hear a song that reveals forgotten memories of red wine and dancing. If only you could hold him again, whisper in his ear that you still love him – despite all the time that’s passed.
On bad days, you fantasize about what could have been if only you were not leading separate lives, running in opposites directions instead of running together. You wonder what would happen if your paths crossed again, if the world wrapped into itself and two paths merged into one. What if you were given a second chance at a love truer than any love you’ve ever experienced before?
Perhaps you should have made different decisions when the time came to part. Maybe you should have kept in touch, gave him a call, admitted that “I still love you” despite all the time that’s passed. Maybe it was a mistake to let him go in the first place. But this person is not yours.
He was never yours to begin with.
We often romanticize the people we can’t have. We romanticize the good memories, the stirring in our stomach at the sight of the one we love, the sleepless nights in European cities, the spontaneity of falling in love in a foreign country. We never consider what would happen if we fall too hard.
In the end, he’s the one who got away. No matter how much you loved and danced, explored and transformed, he was never yours to begin with. Whether he walked away or you ran, whether he stopped talking or you stopped responding, time doesn’t stop for anyone. Timing is everything, and in that moment, the timing just wasn’t right.
This doesn’t mean you should forget that person, or the parts of you that have changed because of him. This doesn’t mean that he didn’t love you or that you didn’t love him. Don’t waste away the hours wondering whether or not you should have ended up together. “What ifs” and what “could have beens” do not matter.
Let yourself remember that he was never yours to begin with. Let yourself think about him, to look back on all those memories fondly; what you had together is an irreplaceable experience. But understand that he got away for a reason. Don’t let your life fly by for someone who was never yours.
Perhaps time is on your side and you’re with him now. Perhaps you’re not.
In the end, you can’t change the fact that he became a part of who you are today. Even if the relationship didn’t work out, you’ve changed because of that person.
Let him go, but never let go of who you are because of him.