It's Not You I MissThis morning I saw our photo hanging on the wall. Airline ticket stubs. A note you wrote me. The card that came with the flowers you sent to the hotel where we spent our honeymoon. I still haven't taken them down. I'll be gone in about a month.
So will they.
I'm still in mourning. I'm still missing something, someone, somewhere. But it's not you I miss - it's what we had. Even more than that: I miss what I thought we could be, should be, would be - but we couldn't. Didn't. Wouldn't.
How can you miss something you never had?
You used to say I was your inspiration . . . the source of motivation for all your dreams and plans. You told me I made you want to be a better man: to speak more eloquently, dress more stylishly, perform more effectively. Well, I never stopped reaching. Even more, since our collapse, I have set my goals in stone and proceeded to chase them down with a fierce, almost bloodthirsty determination. One could say I'm even stronger in spite of - or because of - the situation. Yet you are stuck, lying frozen in your lack of hope, without venue, without direction, without aspiration. When I reached for your hand over the years, your effort and response were just . . .whatever.
Maybe I've changed. But it's only been to inch closer to my true potential - that very potential that you claimed made you fall in love with me. And that's what I miss: our potential. I suppose the onset of every young love is teeming with potential, but it seemed like ours was extraordinary. We could take on the world, explore new places, meet new people, learn new languages, unearth mysterious treasures and, together, become a force unlike any the world had seen. But we didn't. Wouldn't. Couldn't.
Now, as I extract myself from the rubble, I find myself wondering if there is any value in potential - if potentiality is even trustworthy. After all, many college football stars have been awarded the coveted Heisman Trophy (surely, the greatest sign of potential in NCAA football), only to have completely unremarkable, even nonexistent, professional careers.
Don't get me wrong - I want to believe. I want potential to be an accurate predictor of success. I'm just afraid to put my faith in something that has already disappointed me so greatly. Disappeared so quickly. Dissolved so easily.
No, I don't miss you at all. In so many ways, just like those things we didn't become, you were never even there.