If we were having coffee I would tell you that I forgive you.
In fact I forgave you a long time ago for the hurt you caused me with your lies, deception, and cheating.
You were young and insecure. I know, I was too. We both had lots of growing up to do.
Back then discovering that you’d slept with others while we were together hit at the very core of my own insecurities.
Yes I know this made me shut you out. Looking back I wish I had handled it differently but at the time silence, absence, and cruel words were the only defence mechanisms I knew.
Years later I came to realize that just like the chicken and the egg, it didn’t really matter what came first; your infidelity or my silent indifference. Rather than dealing with it we both built walls instead of bridges. It became a downward spiral until there was nothing left worth saving.
Today I would ask you to see it from my point of view; how your actions crushed that young man’s confidence and destroyed his belief that what we had was special, and I would ask that you forgive me too.
I would tell you that despite the mistakes we made and the hurt we caused each other at the end, I’m glad we happened. I hope you don’t see the years we spent together as a waste, or a failure. I know I don’t. How could I? You were the first woman that I ever truly loved, who loved me back equally, and as passionately.
If we were having coffee I would also admit that I still think about you from time to time. No I’m not pining; just fondly reminiscing about the better parts of my youth. Cherish the good memories and learn from the bad ones is what I used to say, and I still believe it.
Young lovers that we were, leaving notes under each other’s pillows, making out in the supermarket check-out line or at the symphony, staying up all night making love or sometimes just talking, playing endless games of backgammon and drinking blackcurrant tea until one in the morning, baking and cooking together, laughing, and yes those explicit letters of longing we sent each other while you worked abroad that one summer.
Thanks to you I learned a lot about myself: my capacity for good, my determination, my ability to care, to listen, to motivate and lead others. You saw these things in me before anyone else did, including me. Most of all when it was good, having you in my life made me want to be a better version of myself.
For all of this and so much more, I would smile and tell you that you’ll always hold a special place in my heart.
I would also tell you how lucky I have been to find that feeling again. She’s an amazing lady and we’ve been going strong now for over twenty years. I’ve changed. I’ve grown. I don’t shut her out; whenever there’s a problem we talk, we work things out and make them better.
Today if we were having coffee I would hold your gaze by looking straight into those beautiful brown eyes and I would thank you for having been such an important part of my life so long ago.
I would stand, hold out my hand and pull you close to kiss your cheek. I would hug you, probably a little too tightly and for a little too long. Then I would look at you one last time and smile as we both turn and walk away.