We understood each other in an intense and deep way. We were intrigued by the knowledge and interests that each of us held, and couldn't wait to learn from and share it with one another.
I would record my favorite poems and he would listen to them as he travelled for work, memorizing them to the point that lines from the poems became meaningful refrains in our relationships.
He would keep a journal of each and every date we went on, how he felt about them, and the meaningful events that occurred during our interactions that changed him or made him think. He eventually gave me the journals as mementos.
Everything we did felt steeped in meaning and importance. I felt seen and understood. I was known more than I had ever been known, and in his knowledge I learned more about myself as well.
Years passed and we grew into each other. We bickered occasionally, but usually not. We helped each other make decisions and overcome anxieties.
We were both young, a bit rickety with fear, and trying to emphasize that we knew who we were and what we were doing, when in reality we were only just beginning to see and understand ourselves; only just starting to look in the mirror and realize what needed growth and work.
After a few happy years, things started to get strange. We spent less time together, and began to fight about how to spend that time. He started to scare me a bit. Unbeknownst to us, he was showing signs of bipolar disorder. In his quest to self sooth and medicate, things got worse.
Eventually the bipolarity tore us apart in a very painful way. In an abrupt half of a year, we went from nearly married to breaking up. I was crushed, lost and confused. And I had lost a great deal of my faith in love.
From that moment on, an oppressive weight harbored itself on my chest. I could never quite trust anyone again, and I was just 30 years old.
I have carried this weight with me for years. It compelled a great deal of my self-discovery and growth, while also inhibiting my ability to grow close and trust people again with my heart.
I frequently dreamed of him and would wake up in tears. The relationship haunted me, despite embarking on other relationships and moving on with my life in other ways.
Just last week, I decided I had had enough. I emailed and asked him if we could talk, if we could move towards a new friendship, if we could forgive each other. My fingers shook as I hit send. I couldn't believe I was doing it.
He responded five days later, saying he also felt that we needed to heal, and that he also wanted forgiveness and to forgive. Now we are talking again.
The miraculous thing was the healing that immediately occurred when I reached out and got a response. The rock has been moved aside. I feel free at last from the terrible pain I have been suffering all these years.
Forgiveness is a difficult, challenging, and beautiful thing. It took time for me to get to the place where it was possible. It took time and thought and self reflection, therapy and hard work.
But now that I am here and that I am beginning a new journey of repair, I feel like all the many years of suffering where almost none at all. Life is funny that way.