Choose to love them.
Even if he wants to forget everything you ever shared together, since you shared ten years but could not share a future.
Even if he was your best friend, and called you a soulmate but needed more attention than you could give. Choose to still love them. Even if your strawberry tattoo was inspired by a gift he once gave you, but you don’t know him anymore.
When you look back on it in a year from now, you’ll have survived. You didn’t need to make a man into a monster – into a maladjusted, selfish, sinking ship. He’s just a man.
He’s just a man.
And she’s just a woman. Even if you walked around the grocery store all night while she bought trivial things to make her smile, and soothed her post-partum depression on your 21st birthday. Soberly. Even if you were friends for 13 years. Even if you did everything you could to keep her from feeling alone, but she ran away when you needed her most. Choose to still love them.
Even if he showed you how to use a gun, and to shiver in parking lots on winter mornings, and how to hug strangers before he stopped calling.
Even if he took you to the mountains, and then became afraid of you. Even if he only wrote you drunken poetry and called you his muse – his Calliope – but was mistaking you for the drink itself. Choose to love them.
Even if he resents every night you spent on his sofa while he smoked pot and watched you sleep. Even if he regrets letting you invade his home, and befriend his cats.
Even if she asked you to be the godmother of her child years ago, then ran into you at the festival and looked away.
Even if he sent you pictures to intend to make you jealous of his girlfriend’s trip to Spain, and called you a shit writer.
Even if he phoned you at 3am, and spent hours describing the faces of the men he’s had to kill, and then lied to you since you’d heard him cry. Even if you gave him a Marines t-shirt for Christmas, inspired his 6 months of sobriety and he wrote you song but won’t let you hear it.
Even if he has three kids, and made fun of your false bravado.
Even if he just wanted a ride to the airport.
Choose to love them.
For they are not monsters, or monsters-in-the-making. You will be there if they ask and expect nothing more from them. For if you love someone once, you will always love them. But you will not expect to be loved in return. Not anymore.
You will just simply choose to love them.
And you will know that even when they have almost completely forgotten you… Someday at the grocery store they will pick up a strawberry, hold it in their hand, and have a very vague notion – an implacable nostalgia of something very important that they have lost.