I never thought we’d get to this point, laughing on the call like we’re fifteen again—except this time even better. You’re telling me all about your new girl and for the first time since I’ve known you all I feel for you is joy. In past lives I would have had to bite my tongue to stop the inevitable flood from breaking through the rafters, leaving me standing in my own humiliation. I would have had to lie through clenched teeth, fighting the urge to grind them (and her, and you) nonexistent. I would have said “I’m so happy for you. Seriously,” feeling all of that hurt well up inside of my chest like something had died.

But last night was different. I could see the sparkle in your eyes and for once accepted that I was no longer the cause of it. I said “I’m happy for you. Seriously,” and meant it, because the sparkle looks good on you. Because love lights up your face like nothing else, painting the cheeks I used to kiss all flushed pink and alive—and really—what more could I ask? This is enough. Seeing you grow happier is the season I never knew I needed.

For once I do not know anything but relief. I love that she loves you. I just hope she does it right—patching up the holes where I did it wrong, filling the gaps with unbreakable cement. I hope she melts for you but does not linger too long as a puddle. That’s a weakness I had, not wanting to change back and claim form again. I hope she loves you firm enough to grow roots.

Look how far we have come, love. Can you see it as clearly as I do now? I feel as if I have never loved you more perfectly. I used to keep you on a short leash, restricting when necessary, pulling you back and reeling you in whenever you’d get too close to the road. Pull, pull, pull. Now I love you like setting you free, little dog, letting your curious legs walk unleashed, stopping to eat the yellow dandelions sprouting from patches of grass growing in places it shouldn’t. Now I love you like trusting you are smart enough to know when a truck is coming, to know when to come back to me—only when you need it. I will be right there. I will be your safety.

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