It was a strange day.
I needed to go to a courier to send something away. I remembered one quite close to where I live, so when I finally managed to drag myself out of bed, I got into my car and drove there.
To avoid paying for parking, I park at the shopping centre across the street. I got out of my car and crossed the bridge to Lynnwood Bridge Mall.
And then it hit me.
I walked past the spot where I met him for the first time. He was late and I was annoyed, but when I say him I couldn’t be angry anymore. I melted. I guess that set the tone for our relationship. I could never really get mad at him.
I walked past the restaurant where we sat talking for over two hours during our first date. His hands were on the table and I wanted to hold them. I walked past the parking lot where said goodbye after the date. We hugged and I felt as though I could hold him forever. I walked away that night with butterflies; feeling, for the first time in my life, like a teenager. I felt as though I was floating.
It was quite a contrast compared to how I walked then; remembering how I felt and wondering if I would ever feel that way again.
I passed the restaurant where we celebrated our first month together. He was telling me about a new business venture he had started. I was telling things that he’s probably long forgotten about.
I realized that I had made a mistake. The courier was, in fact, in the mall on the other side of the bridge.
As I walked towards the bridge, one last memory crept up on me.
About a month ago, I decided that I wanted my copy of To Kill a Mockingbird back from him. I sent him a message saying that he could give it to his assistant to give to me, but he suggested that we meet for coffee. Being who I am, I suggested the same place where we had our first date.
As difficult as it was, I’m glad that we met that day. It gave me the final assurance that yes, our relationship is over and there is nothing I can do about it. Up until that point I had been carrying a little bit of hope. But sitting at what was possibly the same table we sat at on our first date, I realized that he wasn’t going to change his mind.
I got up to leave. I hugged him and he seemed surprised, because up to that point I had been deliberately cold. I realized that it would probably be the last time that I would get to hold him and I started to cry. He told me that he would always be there for me if I needed him. As he stepped out of the embrace, I took his face in my hand and kissed him on the lips. I then turned around and walked away, knowing that I had to just keep walking. I didn’t look over my shoulder.
I might have imagined it, but I could have sworn that he kissed me back.
Once I reached the bridge and knew that I was out of his sight, I leaned on the railing and cried. I stood hunched over for a few minutes before I composed myself enough and slowly crossed the bridge.
As I walked across that same bridge a few weeks later, things were very different. Everything was different from every memory I have with him in that building. I didn’t have butterflies, but I also wasn’t crying. I simply walked with a cloak of sadness and remembrance that followed me. So different from the person I was before. I thought of a lyric from the musical Into the Woods by Stephen Sondheim: “I know things now. Many valuable things that I never knew before… Isn’t it nice to know a lot? And a little bit… not.”
“Sometimes I wake up by the door. That heart you caught must be waiting for you. Even now when we’re already over, I can’t help myself. I’m looking for you… I set fire to the rain and I threw us into the flames. When it fell something died and I knew that that was the last time. The last time.” ~ Adele