I run my finger along the hood of a car that resembles yours, picking up the dust on its metal skin. Flashes of a life that had been my world begin to cut quickly through mind. Every hour of the day I ponder what we had been.

From our very first night at Halloween Haunt to the final fight in November where we nearly tore each other apart until 3 in the morning – I hover above a fine line between regrets and lessons learned. I am still in love, not with him, but with those memories. The storm has calmed and these icy waters have become possible to tread, if only for minutes at a time. His eyes lingered on mine, and that kiss still yields tears when I let it soften my stone heart. 

There came a time when the gulf between us was not only in physical kilometers, but emotional depth. As my head wrapped around this, I felt my twenty-year-old self return. And for each moment I let that storybook love play out, I remind myself: it was never meant to be. I knew it the first month, and God knows why I strung him along to the point that I buried myself in the mess. Sifting through dozens upon dozens of moving pictures, my heart begins to ache.

Take me back to those distance drives you would make to Purvis and that May afternoon that I cried when you drove away, our nights out in Toronto that summer of twenty-sixteen, my days with you at the Gorge, all those mini golf matches I’d lose, Catan rounds as double dates, and homemade pizzas in our apartment in Ottawa – a plethora of firsts that will forever be ours.

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