I miss you sometimes.
When our song comes on, that beautiful, melancholy song that broke and healed my heart all those years ago, it takes me back to those places with you.
To the most beautiful first date I’ve ever been on, to the most raw and beautiful moments I’ve ever had with a soul.
That song was so prophetic Stay or Leave at the time it meant only leaving you for a couple months, for an adventure in my Wyoming wilderness. It felt like it would be forever. I remember the weekend at your cottage. Hot and humid and filled with barefoot walks in the woods and late night swims and startling fawns from sleep on an early morning walk.
I wanted you not to go, but you did.
I did, I left that summer but you followed me. That random white lie from my Mom, “We need to drop off recycling at the airport now.” It’s Wyoming, it’s a smaller town, sure they moved the main recycling drop point. Then we pull up and there you are on the curb by the airport arrivals door. I couldn’t get out of that truck fast enough.
You had called my mom and plotted all of this behind my back. And then we went and got lost for a summer in my favorite wilderness, I met my Buffalo, I found more of you and myself there then I ever imagined.
I can hardly think back to those times, without getting a tear in my eye. What had I done, leaving you? Because I was the one who left.
How could I have forgotten the magic of that first date. A long hike along the dirt roads in the UP. You bringing me to your many hidden spots filled with wild flowers and berries and snares for catching animals. Then a sudden thunderstorm, neither of us run because thunderstorms are our favorite. We walk back slowly to my car, sit on the roof and let the rain fall on us as our legs dangle through the open sun roof. And a perfect first kiss among the claps of thunder and bursts of lightening.
Making plans to change the world, while the world was changing us
And it did, I went off to Uganda, you made art and were finding your way. We made that long distance work. I still remember a phone call in the Entebbe airport plotting how you were going to start your nature school and I would run that camp out in Wyoming and together we would follow our hearts and each other.
Then something changed, I woke up and it wasn’t there any more. The love for you shifted to a familial love. I needed the city, I needed to fill up different parts of my soul and I didn’t think you could come along for the ride.
I wouldn’t call it a regret but it’s something I wonder about from time to time. Like when this song comes on midday at work and I think of you and the year or two we had together. How would it have been different if I stayed with you? Would I have pursued my city dreams, would that have pulled us apart? Would I have pursued my outdoor love and career instead? Would that have brought us closer together? Would we still be together today, 10 years later?
There’s no way to know, but I do miss you. I’ve tried to find you a few times, I reach out and nothing. Silence, it always breaks my heart a little bit. But I know what we had will never be forgotten, I’m sorry if I ruined it. I’m sorry if I didn’t trust you enough to bring you along on the rest of this ride. Maybe in the next life we will.