“People tell me that it’s a crime
To feel too much at any one time
She should have caught me in my prime, she would have stayed with me
Instead of goin’ off to sea and leavin’ me to meditate
Upon that simple twist of fate”
– Simple Twist of Fate, as sung by Jeff Tweedy, lyrics by Bob Dylan
I’m a strong man. I’ve been through a lot, and I’ve been broken a lot. I’ve faced tests and trials, and I’ve come through the other side. I have the scars on my heart and my mind to prove it.
You see, there are a lot of things I can handle, but there are some things that I’m just not strong enough to handle, at least not just yet, anyway.
You were one of those things.
I wasn’t expecting you.
I wasn’t expecting how starshinebright amazing you’d be.
I wasn’t ready to hear the things you told me, the kind, honest, funny things you told me, the sad, heartbreaking things you told me.
I had wanted you for so long.
But I wasn’t ready.
I wasn’t ready to hear that there was a moment when I could have had a chance with you, but I didn’t see it through my depression.
I wasn’t ready to hear that I could have had a chance with you, and I missed it.
I wasn’t ready to hear that you moved on and you gave your heart to someone else.
I wasn’t ready.
I wasn’t ready for the things you remembered, things that really mattered to me.
I wasn’t ready to discover how much we had in common.
I wasn’t ready for your playlist. Your goddamn playlist. Your playlist that was almost exactly like my playlist. Filled with favorite songs from bands no one I knew had ever heard of.
I wasn’t ready for how strong made me feel.
I wasn’t ready for how weak you made me feel.
It was all too much.
Too much too soon.
At a time when my fragile heart had finally finished healing, I simply was not ready.
But that’s the story of my life – bad timing.
I wasn’t ready for you wanting to stay in my life, because I know how this story ends. I’ve lived it too many times. But I listen to my heart. My head, not so much.
And the more I got to know you, the more I realized how astoundingly perfect you were – even though you saw them as imperfections, I saw wonders. And I hoped.
Stupidly, I hoped. Even though I’ve been through this before, I hoped. Maybe this time. Maybe just this once.
Stupid me. Foolish me. Foolish old man.
You decided what you decided.
You wanted what you wanted.
What could I do?
I wasn’t going to push you. I wasn’t going to guilt you. I wasn’t going to try and convince you. And I sure as hell wasn’t going to get mad at you or insult you for your decision.
Those are the actions of a weak person. Those are the actions of a coward. Those are the actions of a person with no self respect.
I’m a grown man.
I’ve been through too much.
I’m a gentleman.
I have character.
I have integrity.
And because of that I live my life with rules. And a gentleman plays by the rules.
And if I compromise those, then I have nothing.
A grown man respects a woman’s decision.
And I’m too damn old and too damn broken to believe in bullshit fairy tale endings, because they don’t exist for me.
What exists for me is solitude – a life alone, and I’m fine with that. I like my life alone. I just don’t want to know about the would haves and could haves.
I should have known better. Next time I will. I hope.
And with the wisdom of old fools who’ve made the mistake of living their lives led by their hearts, I know this:
I will not take the backseat.
I will not hang around, a ghost, insubstantial and thin.
I will not lay at your feet, like a dog, scrambling for whatever crumbs that fall from your table.
I will not do that to myself again.
I know my value, I know my worth.
I’m worth much more than that.
It’s time to stop dreaming foolish dreams.
So I’m writing you this letter – even though I know that you probably won’t read it to tell you two things:
I’m letting you go.
I’m walking away, because your happiness is all that matters to me and if I’m in the way of your happiness then I need to remove myself from the situation, and because my heart has been broken too much, and I need my heart whole for my mom.
And the last thing, the wonderful, terrible last thing that I need you to know:
I love you.
I didn’t think it was going to happen.
I didn’t want it to happen.
I’m sorry. I really am.
I wasn’t ready for this.
I wasn’t expecting this.
But life is filled with unexpected twists of fate, and who, really, can prepare for them.
I love you, goddamn it.
I love you, and I always will.