I’ve turned the page.
I’ve shredded every feeling.
I’ve twisted every memory.
It took me a while to get over that feeling of rejection. It took so much effort that I had to create an alternate world where I was the one who rejected him.
In that world, I stood there cold and unmoved as I let out the few words I didn’t even have to mentally rehearse for. I told him: “you don’t think this is actually leading to something serious, right?”
“Yes, of course not,” he lied.
In that world, I left him to walk back home alone in the dark hiding his tears from passersby and looking back over his shoulder every few minutes to check if he had been mistakenly transported into a fairytale.
In that world, I ignored him for months. I didn’t have to dismiss thoughts about him because they never even surfaced.
He was nothing to me and I had convinced myself from the start that he was old enough to take it lightly. I never promised him anything anyway.
In that world, I never blamed myself for his heartbreak or his aloofness for years to come.
I prided myself on having seduced him for a few months and many others just like him. I didn’t even have to change my strategy. I had made him disappear which made it easier to regain my personal space without having to put up with the agony of being nice and small talk.
In that world, I was only vulnerable when I felt safe. I only gave my trust once it had been earned.
In that world, I never fell in love with him.
I’ve built that world with tears and sleepless nights. It was my escape from my own feelings. It was a place where I didn’t have to succumb to my weakest qualities. A place where I could manipulate events and memories.
It was a prison of my own imagination where anyone who came close to hurting me would get a life sentence.
After years of being preoccupied with building every intrinsic detail of myself in that world, I failed to notice he was the only prisoner there.
He reached out to me years later. One casual morning, a time of the day where nothing really exciting ever happens.
I couldn’t wrap my head around the thought of seeing him after so many years. I was two relationships older.
He forced me to revisit that world again where I had left him to fend for himself. A world which had been abandoned and dead. I walked through the same words, all the scenarios I had created and I tore them down one by one.
I was worried that because I had said so much in my carefully tailored fake world, I would have nothing to say in real life.
And I was right. I had very little to say to him. Every passing thought and every faint heartache I still felt over the years was gone.
In this world, he was the one who gave me the toughest lessons about love. He was the one who walked around like he didn’t care while I faded slowly day by day for a year.
He was the monster and I was just a kid who could only see what’s best in him.
In this world, I had fallen in love with him once.
Healing took way longer than the time I even spent with him.
But we grew up from all that. Life had led us in different directions and he randomly dug me up from his past because he was curious about what had happened to that girl he once knew.
Little did he know, I wasn’t that girl anymore.
I didn’t need that world anymore to get my voice heard. I didn’t need to hold him prisoner of my imagination where I would revisit him to hit him with my best alternate conversations.
I had moved on and that world had become my reality. I was exactly what I had built myself up to be.
Seeing him again wasn’t about closure, I had already written my own ending. It was about curiosity. I wanted to know what had fascinated me about him in the first place.
To my disappointment, I never found out. Not even the second time around.
And as we, both older and wiser, said goodbye,
“See you,” I lied.