No One is Looking: On Letting Go

Heathcliff and Cathy Earnshaw Pictures, Images and Photos

So I continue to take part in #Reverb10, a 31-day write-in. Here’s today’s post.

Day 5 Prompt: Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why? (Thanks, Alice.)

This year, I let go of Kevin.

Kevin is the name of the man I really and truly fell in love with in college.

He helped shape the way I saw men, and myself in relation to men. For better and for worse.

I loved him in that messy Catherine-and-Heathcliff sort of way– very mistimed, playfully mean, and muddied, with many external entanglements on either side scraping at the both of us. We were never really involved in the traditional way. We were apart, geographically, but it seemed like no matter where Kevin lived, he perennially claimed that “best lakefront view” campsite in my heart.

Even after Colin and I had been together, I remember times when he’d crop up in my mind. I’d putter around in my memories and old journals with him again, reliving the best of the unstable years. Before email, I wrote him letters. Then came email, which was cold and awful and made everything less frequent.

I sent him an email this past winter, as I did do every year or so to update him on life. It bounced. He had quit the university where he had been so long. I remember feeling like I’d come around the corner of my own soul town and found an entire subdivision it abandoned, rolling with tumbleweed and trail dust.

Some research (not that dedicated… just occasional Google searches), and I found him again, of course. On Facebook. Duh.

We exchanged a message or two. He is not Facebookish, so he exists there in still life, profile pic unchanged. Staring.

Despite the reconnections, the more time went by, the less often he haunted my moors. With the new developments in my life — not the least of which was that I turned 40 last year (I was 20 when he and I met!) — and his raison d’etre in my life seemed to have become ghostly pale. I’d have to force myself feel the melancholy — to search for it — instead of being instantly transported at the thought of his name.

Sometime about a month ago, it occurred to me:

“I don’t need him anymore.”

It didn’t come like some tsunamic revelation. It wasn’t a huge relief. It was just one of those mini ah-ha moments. Sort of like when you are cleaning out the fridge, and you realize: “You know I guess I can just throw the containers away this once. No one is looking.”

It makes things suddenly, inexplicably much easier.

That doesn’t mean my mind won’t wander back to the moors now and then, I suppose.

This post is part of a daily writing project called #reverb10. Find out more & join in this creative exercise here.

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