It’s been a long time since I made that trip up to Stafford to say goodbye to you for the last time. It’s been 9 years now. I know so very little about what happened to you after that day. I know what town you live in and the name of your partner and I’ve seen the photos of your two lovely children. But I know so little else. How did the rest of your degree go? What job did you find when you graduated? How has your life progressed since then?
All your social media stopped when we broke up. Your Facebook profile picture is still a photo I took of you in my halls kitchen in first year. I’ve seen photos from your mum’s and partner’s facebooks and you look happy. I think you’re a great dad and partner and I hope you are enjoying your life.
I knew you were capable of so much. You are still the most intelligent man I’ve ever met. I never really stopped loving you but we went down different paths in life. I have a career that I’m very good at and only now, at the age of 30, considering moving in with my partner and thinking about children. I miss you. I miss our friendship and I wish we could have remained friends. Maybe we could be friends now if we met again. I think the distance and the time is too great now and I don’t want to disrupt your life. I was too cowardly to keep in touch at the time. And it’s too late now.
I hope you don’t hate me and think of our time together fondly sometimes. I had so many amazing firsts with you. I remember the time you got drunk at the sixth form social. I remember that dinner party you hosted (so glad I left early!) I remember our date to the curry place in town. I remember spending every night with you in first year until you dropped out. I remember you leaving me and heading off to another university. I remember visiting Stafford, the cleanliness (or lack of), the long walk to the campus and back to Asda. I more remember you visiting Bath. I remember that winter the heating broke at my place in bath and us going into town to eat every night to stay warm. I remember the last good time we had together, going to that weird play thing up on campus and the lovely walk home. I remember the holiday to Bristol, still one of the best holidays I’ve ever had. I remember our very weird trip to Frome.
I don’t think it was ever really going to work out once we started long distance. I was changing so much, growing in confidence, excelling at my degree and the placement I did when I was still with you and wanted to be ready for life after graduation. You were not really ready for that, struggling to do the work for your degree, struggling with motivation. I don’t think I really understood what you were going through and I definitely didn’t know how to help you. I would handle things differently now, but the distance really didn’t help. It’s very hard to be in a partnership when you’re not together physically and I know that now. Neither of us really understood what the other’s life was like. We didn’t see each other with our friends, see how our days were structured, know how we liked to work, what we cooked, how we were as people. We just got little weekend glimpses into each other lives which tended to be full of happy times rather than real life. Maybe if I’d been able to hang on til graduation we’d have made it. But maybe we never would have reconnected properly afterwards. As you know we never got round to having our first argument. I don’t know what things would have been like for us as a proper full time adult couple instead of a long distance romance when we were both so young.
Anyway all this is promoted because I was thinking about the things you gave me that I still have. I have everything you ever gave me. Owl cushion and giant microbe. The two bracelets. Cards and other presents. It took me a while to stop sleeping with owl cushion. Most of it is all tucked away in mums loft (my parents divorced a few years ago now). I wish I could take it out to look at it now as I lay awake at night thinking of you. I hope you kept the things I gave you and made for you. I remember the flamingo for your 19th birthday. The dice bag and the gloves I knitted (I think the dice bag is one of the highest quality things I ever made). I remember making valentines cards. Maybe you keep these things in a box too. I hope so.
I still feel like I did you wrong by leaving you. I do miss you and wish you all the best. I wish I knew the amazing man you became rather that just having the memories of who you were from 16-21 years old. I hope one day to bump into you again, like we did that one day about a year after we broke up. But it seems so unlikely now as we live so far apart and I don’t know if our parents still live in the same town.
So I wish you luck and joy and peace and happiness for the rest of your life. I’ll continue to think of you from time to time and check for new photos on Facebook occasionally. It’s nice to see you happy surrounded by family.
Lots of love