Letting Go of Who I Wanted You to Be

By MJ Gray

“I know this is weird, but would you tell your parents goodbye and thank you for me?” I brush your cheek with my hand.

My leg is resting on yours and it feels so natural, so inappropriate, so devastatingly unreal. Our bodies drape over one another effortlessly, following a road map we’ve drawn for a year now. I am too aware of your touch on every inch of my skin. My body recognizes it’s the same touch, but nothing is the same anymore. I watched our relationship fall apart within the confines of this apartment bedroom. We’re sitting on your beat-up couch. In this moment, I hate you. I’m in love with you. I glance at the posters on your walls that I spent hours choosing for you this summer. Yet another unrequited anniversary gift. The sting in my heart reminds me you would never do something like that for me. I don’t miss you, because I know it’s the right decision to stop letting you slash my self-worth.

No, I miss you even though you’re right here.

A surprised laugh overtakes you at my question. 

“God,” you scoff, “you really are the nicest girl I have ever met in my life…”

I blink back the hot tears forming at those words. 

“Will you promise me something?”

An ache radiates from my heart and out through my limbs. Tears race down my face. I’m finally unashamed of my pain for the first time. I’ve held it in around you for too long. Your blue eyes are glittering with your own tears, and I can’t help but stare at them like they will disappear forever when I look away. I feel them fixate on me with a pained smile, and I can tell you are studying my face for the last time.

“Never let anyone take advantage of how sweet you are.”

“Again. Never again,” I correct.

MJ Gray is a junior triple-major studying environment, sustainability, & policy, geography, and policy studies. MJ is captain of the Mock Trial Team and wants to study environmental law after graduation. She relies on her writing as her creative outlet and means of expressing herself, and she loves writing poetry, personal essays, or anything prose.