To Have Loved, But Not Lost

A seagull. Photo by Jeremy Alcorn

To the man with my heart in his glorious palms; that’s how it began. I was rummaging through my files today and I reached into a folder labeled nostalgia sure that there was something there I could throw away. It held a single letter. It was one my second wife had written me on my birthday. I had forgot it even existed.

Our relationship was an unlikely one. 18 years of age separated us. Most people didn’t approve. In the end her interest faded; she moved on and so I had to as well.

Her letter was as spectacular now as it was then, I remembered why I loved her so. As I read through her beautiful prose and all of the wonderful things she said about me, about us, I pondered how such emotion and love could ever fade. Sometimes though, it does.

Things can never go back to how they were. That truth is the only thing that made moving on possible. Life is both complicated and simplistic that way.

Her words continue, this time prophetic “our time is something we have to treat as precious, focusing on what we have instead of what we do not have.”

I was the happiest with her. I can’t imagine ever feeling that way again towards another. I hope I will. If I don’t, I’m thankful for the two years we shared. I’m ever grateful that I was able to experience such emotion once in my life and I’m glad it was with her.

I returned the letter to its place with tears cascading down my cheeks and falling from my chin. The folder is like my heart, it holds something dear to me. I can reminisce about what it holds and appreciate how special those moments are to have lived. A heart bereft of love is barely able to be called heart at all. It is just an empty object waiting to be used, to be filled.

As it turns out, everything in the folder and in my heart is placed just as it should be. I was in love and that is enough.

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