Dear Stranger

Years and months of the same are behind us. And for a moment, we were closer than ever before. We were both lonely during this extraordinary worldwide crisis, and the pandemic made us spend many hours on the phone together. Something grew. A bond that turned out to be more profound and more genuine than it has ever been before. But, we are fragile minds with different lives, different needs, and different desires. I always knew that the inevitable would come. I was waiting for it almost daily. I was unsure of you, and maybe I was even more unsure of myself and my feelings towards you. And then, one day, you told me we need to talk after I am done with my shift. It was a late shift, and the message came early on. I am not proud to admit that I had to leave the office and the group to gather myself. I had an anxiety attack that day brought on by the fear of losing you. I was sure you would tell me that you didn’t want or couldn’t be in touch with me anymore. Just the way you had done before. Instead, to my surprise, you asked for my support. For friendship and advice. Whereas a year before you told me that I don’t matter and that you never cared, you now asked for me to take small steps in the right direction with you. I felt needed and seen. You saw me. And I saw you. Everything worked well for us. We talked. We laughed. We cried. You were healing, and so was I. Slowly, steadily. It was a good time. But I still had the nagging feeling in the back of my head that this was not going to last. And I was right. One day in August, you told me to call you as soon as I was ready and done with work. Again I was working the late shift. Again, I was worried. But I pushed the thoughts away. I called you as soon as I sat in my car. It was dark outside. A streetlight illuminated my car. I called twice and woke you up. Your voice was slurred. I did not understand a lot of what you were trying to say, but I understood that we were over and done. I did not have a say in this, but you told me we would talk the next day.

The next day, you called, and we talked about it all. About what had happened. Then we texted about it some more. I apologised for all the things I did to you. I told you that I want what’s best for you, and if that’s for you to be away from me, I would not fight your wishes, no matter how much it hurts. But I needed you to know that I wanted you in my life. You have your place in my life and in my heart. Always. You became defiant and nasty. You always do when you don’t know how to react to my bursts of emotions. Once again, you told me that my stuff is none of your business and that you really don’t care. I got the message. You needed no-contact. And I ended the conversation there. I did not want to pick a fight and leave with a bad taste in your mouth. I gave you the space you asked for. I did not block your number as you requested. I cannot do that – it hurts me more than it hurts you. But I did not get in touch the way I did for months and weeks before, checking in on you when I felt that something was off. (I was always right, but who cares, and it does not matter.)
Yesterday, you sent an email. I was asleep. I read your usual words in that email. And I debated this morning if I should react or not. I took my time. And when I did, you called. Not once but ten times. I pushed you away, telling you that I was busy and would get in touch later. Later. I needed a moment to decide what to do. Because you were not wrong when you accused me of holding on to you out of selfish reasons and not because of you. Indeed, later, I had a clearer mind. I sent a message back saying that we didn’t do us any good with our behaviour. Always the same patterns. You have your needs that only I can fulfill, and I have my needs that can only be met by you. But, what are we doing, dear Stranger?! We are hurting ourselves this way. And I really thought there would be no reply; I did not expect anything but rejection and disappointment. Instead, you surprised me with a thank you, and a couple of other messages were sent back and forth. You never cease to amaze me. In good and bad ways equally. We are burning bright without each other, turning into dust. Together, we at least have us.
I will never let you go. I will never betray your trust. I promised to be there. To catch you when you fall. It sounds like a threat and not like friendship or love.

But is this the right thing to do? I am not sure anymore. I just know that the months we were so comfortable together, so close, were awesome, and I miss you. Miss us and who we became.
Soon, we will have our 6th anniversary. That’s a long time. A lot has happened. A lot has changed. More for you than for me, I admit. But without you, I would not be here. I owe you.

It’s hard to give up our weaknesses when there is grace and care. But we must.
What are we doing? What are we going to do?

I don’t know,
Forever yours,

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