… because he was mid-breakup, there was an assortment of his and hers, boxes and disarray. I felt intrusive — everything had history. It was haunting. I was climbing over her the second I entered that house. Magnets on the fridge from trips they had taken, each a tiny memory. Books on the shelf in various languages, all hers, all interesting. The bed they shared, muscle memory compelling him to occupy ‘his side’ as I adjusted to settling into hers.
I remember waking up on Saturday morning in his T-shirt and on her side thinking how nice it was not to rush home at 4am after being touched by a stranger. How nice to wake next to someone, tangled with them, warm and quiet; someone who wants you to be there. We spent that morning in pyjamas, snacking, watching Netflix, talking, and playing. I went home only to return later that afternoon and we stayed together until Monday morning. He wanted me to come back. For months, he wanted me all the time. Quickly and unreservedly, he embodied safety and longevity. I wrote to my siblings, to my father about him, about how excited I was at the prospect of all of the Saturday mornings we could share.
Knowing him and having him was inexplicably easy, but circumstantially things were often tough. We would never argue in-person and I never felt bored or tired of him; however, points of contention existed the second I’d leave that house, as if he would forget it was just me. Forget seeing me in his bed, standing at the door, wearing his work-shirts, cooking all those dinners, singing along to music we’d share, laughing at each other’s accents. Just me. The ex’s slow move out finally culminated; she took her boxes, the entire kitchen, and a big piece of him. I’d like to think I wasn’t a placeholder, that dinners we made didn’t replicate ones they shared, that her side eventually became my side, but instead, he woke up one Tuesday morning uninterested. After that, he met me in a parks, restaurants, and a cafe purely out of guilt, places he confirmed for seemingly the hundredth time that he liked me, but not enough*. Not enough — a resounding phrase, debilitating me, even now.
I am not enough, I didn’t try hard enough, he’d never love me enough.
I was so excited to be 26 with him; to share an entire summer chock full of adventure and playfulness in France; I wanted to meet his mother, to be his plus one for that summer wedding invite he kept on his kitchen table, wanted to visit where he grew up on a getaway weekend. I wanted to dance around to English rock in my underwear, hearing spectacular music for the first time, all the time. I wanted to show up for him, I was ready to. Let’s try, let’s really try — I felt myself begging him to feel what he felt on mornings just like that first Saturday. Begging, wake up next to me. And as my life shifts, and the prospect of another geography looms, I have this indescribable belief that it’s not done, not really happening. That I am more than those four months, that I am enough. I think back to the first date, wonder what if I cancelled it? Wonder how to persevere now when the only thing left to share with the person you adore, is a mutual love for him.
It was only a few months.
But somehow, that was everything.
* You are enough. Regardless of what corner of the world you’re reading this from, know that relationships are a series of reactions and you warrant the response of love — you’re worth that. It’s hard, I know. And we’re all a little tired of giving to people who drain us of every resource, all realizing that pretending it’s enough to be touched is getting old. In moments where you feel stripped and disoriented, there’s a lesson of togetherness, an entire world of people feeling let down but growing a little bit taller, pushing onwards because they are searching for a different reaction: they are enough.