The One That Got Away

The Star (St. Lucia) - - THE LIGHT SIDE -

An old flame wrote to me re­cently. He was about to marry an­other woman. As I read his words, I formed the im­pres­sion he was in­di­rectly seek­ing my per­mis­sion to move on to the Land of Hap­pily Ever Af­ter.

I was floored. I re­mem­bered him fondly. But un­til his let­ter I hadn’t re­ally felt the ex­tent of his love; at least, not as I felt as I read his let­ter. We’d shared a child­hood re­la­tion­ship that hadn’t gone any­where past the usual school-days love notes. He was a few years older than me, and one of our school’s most pop­u­lar boys. I loved his way with words, al­beit still then ju­ve­nile. But it wasn’t long be­fore I moved on to less bor­ing prospects.

In his let­ter to me ten years later he re­called I’d looked him in the eye and told him I just didn’t feel about him as he ev­i­dently felt about me, that he should move on. For the first time I found my­self putting my­self in his po­si­tion, try­ing to feel as he may have so many years ear­lier. And I felt a need to apol­o­gize for be­ing so thought­less.

Quite un­nec­es­sar­ily, he let me know he har­bored no ill feel­ings to­ward me, de­spite my dis­mis­sive dag­ger-edged re­ac­tion back in the day. He said the pain he felt at the time had taught him an im­por­tant un­for­get­table les­son: he was owed noth­ing, and should ex­pect noth­ing from any­one.

Still, he shared with me that he’d asked him­self a num­ber of times the ques­tion of: What if? Now that he was about to com­mit his life to an­other woman, he needed to sever what­ever chained us to­gether. I was dumb­founded by his fi­nal words, that while he’d found him­self a soul mate, he needed to thank me for teach­ing him about true love.

“Only when I de­cided to move on,” he wrote, “did I de­cide I re­ally could love again!”

His let­ter left me in tears, but as I read his clos­ing lines sealed with love, I re­al­ized they were not tears of sad­ness. I was happy he’d found some­one to share his life with, and even more so for the way we’d briefly crossed paths, im­pact­ing each other’s lives in ways more pro­found than I will ever be able to say.

Maybe we’ve all ex­pe­ri­enced this in one way or an­other, whether in the form of lov­ing some­one deeply with lit­tle or no re­cip­ro­ca­tion, or hav­ing some­one de­voted to you in just the same way, at a time when you’re not in a place to re­cip­ro­cate. The most im­por­tant thing I’ve learnt thus far about love is that it is never wasted, and that even the mo­ments in which we feel unloved, or un­able to love, are there to teach us valu­able les­sons on how to best align our hearts in preparation for what is to come.

Katy Perry said it best, nuff said!

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