Sometimes people ask me why I kept trying with Emily. Orion said to me not that long ago that I often linger when I should let go; I can’t disagree and it’s hard to explain why. It’s hard to explain why Emily was so important to me, which is maybe in and of itself the reason; because there isn’t any one specific quality that is responsible for my having loved her that I could point a finger at and say ‘That. That is why I stayed’.
I can tell you this though; there is one moment that comes to mind when things are bad. Every time I’m angry or sad, or upset there is a memory that comes to mind and makes me feel like I should keep trying. It’s also the moment that comes to mind when I’ve been happiest with her. Maybe it’ll seem silly to you but this is it:
She is coming down the escalator the day we finally met in person. I see her nervously clutching the rail as I wait at the bottom and I know it’s her before I see her face. Her eyes meet mine and she smiles and her smile is filled with all the time that’s passed from the moment that we started talking until this one. I meet her at the bottom and we hug and she’s shaking, or maybe that’s me. We hold each other so tightly and nothing else in the entire world matters.
That moment is about more than just finally meeting, it’s what we overcome to arrive at it. There were so many more obstacle in front of us than there are now and none of it held us back, none of it stopped us, nothing was impossible no matter how improbable ; we found a way to be together. We lived in different countries, had separate lives thousands of miles apart, she was married and we overcame everything that stood between us which is exactly what it felt like when I held her in my arms that day.
Maybe it’s foolish; it certainly feels that way sometimes, but certainly not more than giving up because of a fight over bills or what to have for dinner feels. It isn’t need that kept me with her and It isn’t the easy comfort that keeps people together long after the spark has faded because it’s never really been easy. It’s knowing that we’ve been through worse and we’ve come so far and despite the list of sound reasons we could have given up in the past we didn’t and we found a way to make it work. Maybe we expected it to be easier when we found ourselves living together and in many ways it was, but in many other ways it was just the beginning and all the normal challenges were still ahead of us. You have a high expectation for how easy things will be comparatively when you overcome obstacles and sometimes the expectation doesn’t match the reality.
I know that a disagreement over what to eat or what movie to watch or who’s paying more of the bills are always about more than that. So was that moment though, the one I mention above. It’s that moment that comes to mind when I was happy with her. It’s that moment that comes to mind when I’m sad.
People will tell you that these sorts of memories usually fade or pass. They’ll tell you that you’ll replace them with new ones that you make with someone who is better for you and maybe they are right. I’ve never had a moment and what it stood for make an impression on me as great as that one did though and I’ll admit it’s been hard to put behind me. I have a feeling that any time I think of her, it’ll be there, somewhere, in my head, in my heart, reminding me of why I stayed so long. It’ll make me wonder if I gave up too soon, it’ll make me wonder if she did.
That’s it. That moment, what it stood for, everything that it took to arrive at it and all the challenges that we overcame to be together; that is what I’m giving up, in giving up on her. That’s the hello that’s kept me going, even after most reasonable people would have told me that I should say goodbye.
That’s all that I have to say about Emily and this is where that story ends.
“Put Light around her in your hearts.”