Lying in the dark, I often think back to the times we used to share. The times before all of this started. In my dreams you are still that man. You are the one who laughed with me and cried with me through our best and worst times. But that man is gone.
I find myself wishing you could be that man again. I look into your face and try to wish into it the lines and creases of someone familiar. Instead, I am left with a man who has been hardened by life and who resists even the most basic contact with me. I see the changes in your features and know that it means that man is not there. The man who once had a soft smile and a loud laugh. The man who once told me he would love me no matter what.
I feel empty.
Not because I no longer have a self, but because the melding of our lives and our souls has been broken and I am unsure how to mend it. I am alone. Where once two people resided in the same space and time, there are now two separate entities simply ghosting around each other in a similar space.
You can’t be him again. And I can’t be her. And as much as I wish we could go back, back to a time before wars had to be fought, before the desert names of countries and provenances I’d never heard of became seared into my memory. But we can’t go back. And while I wish desperately that I could be that young, naïve, carefree girl whom you married, I can’t be her anymore than you can be the young man with the contagiously loud laugh, who could hold my hand and make me think I could take on the entire world if only you wouldn’t let go.
I am not her. I can’t be her ever again. And while I look into your hard and distant eyes and sometimes think I see the remnants of the man I am looking for, it is time for me to let him go, just as it is time for you to let her go.
All we have is what is here now, in this moment. In this moment, we have a history that can’t possibly measure up, a life lived that can’t possibly be recaptured, and a present that is painful to move through when still carrying the remnants of that old life. That life we can’t have.
Now is the time to remember that while I look into your face and know that you can’t be him, you can be the man I need now, in this moment. But you must also look into my face and know that I can’t be her, but I can be the woman who will hold your hand and walk through fire with you if it means we come out the other side together.