Almost

If there is one thing I won’t ever forget,
it’s the feeling of almost.
The overwhelming sensation of wanting to cradle love in my hands like a newborn child and craving desperately to grasp it with a resilience that echoed in a prism of colors that screamed
“I will never let you go.”

But he always seemed to slip through the spaces between my fingers, as if he had a soul coated effortlessly with butter. Gentle enough to allow me to graze my fingertips against it, never vulnerable enough to let me in.

With time I’ll forget the rush of flailing helplessly into the depths of his eyes. I’ll forget the numbness I felt tracing imaginary pathways down the curvature of his spine, backroads along the ridges of his hands. I’ll forget feeling the closest I’ve ever been to flying, as if I’ve been tied down to a railroad and freed just seconds before my potential demise. I’ll forget the resonance of our favorite songs and the slam of back doors and how none of it even mattered when I was with him. We were relative, limitless, the kind of unrequited love that leaves your knees shaking, your breath stuck in your throat, a permanent cycle of bracing for impact.

But loving him wasn’t enough. I craved an understanding that always felt unfulfilled at dusk, always being left with emptiness and an ever-growing gap that felt incomplete. I wasn’t flying, I was falling. I wasn’t loving, I was chasing. I let him memorize the way I liked my tea and the titles of the books that I could reread over and over again until I realized that the best parts of me had been given away to a stranger. The shadow of a person I thought I knew, but only ever understood a fraction of. An enigma. A lonely intrigue. Another almost.

I’ll forget the silent scream that reverberated in my throat when I realized that he could look at me and feel nothing at all. An absence. A wasted chance. An impending goodbye. I’ll forget everything except our last exchange of glances and the pivotal decision I made to change my promise of “I will never let you go” to “I almost loved you.” The moment I decided to leave behind our masterpiece, our canvas of watercolor love now left to ruin in the rain.