It wasn't so long ago that we were driving around your neck of the woods and you were pointing to wonderful houses you almost bought, but didn't. I was struck by the tour, a landscape of missed opportunities, dodged bullets, lessons learned. You live in a beautiful, wistful place. Not long after that, when we were both crying, I said, "I don't want to be another house you should have bought."
I remembered that the other day. Maybe it's the time of year. I think of you often. Who knows where I am on your map of the world? Am I a woman you should have loved, when you had the chance and the price wasn't too high? I'm not sure where you are on my emotional landscape. I recently came across a piece of writing I did back then, three months before we broke up. I was sad, I knew it wouldn't last. And yet I believed in you, and in us, and I couldn't reconcile those two things. I outlined all the reasons that broke us up later. Reading it now I was surprised, because I remember the sunny days on the rocky shore, the walks in the woods, the scrambled eggs, with the optimistic blur of affection. But our relationship was full of regret and frustration and wistfulness, even when it was happening.
Maybe I'm thinking about you because I've been carrying around this dream that I got from you. You saw the best in me, I think, and that was such a good feeling. It still is; you continue to encourage me. I need that. I still admire you -- your intelligence, your earnest kindness, your love of words. I might roll my eyes, I might not laugh, but I will always smile at your corny jokes. As lovely as all those houses you didn't buy might have been, the one you did buy has so much promise, and is coming to life in your hands. There's no need for regret.
But I do regret a lot of things. I regret the time I went with the five year olds to hunt bugs and pick flowers instead of staying with the grown ups for drinks on the porch. I regret my impatience and condescension towards you. As if I knew any better. Ridiculous. I regret that we didn't take that week to sail in that guy's boat. I regret leaving you out of a lot of my decisions. I regret not telling you how much I felt. Maybe I regret staying with you so long when I knew how it would turn out. I regret that stupid phone call I made, saying things I knew weren't fair, and then getting mad at you for your perfectly reasonable answers. I can't help myself sometimes.
I'd like to change our relationship, to absolve us both of these regrets. I feel like they hover, unspoken, in the air between us. This house is not on the market. And even if it were, you wouldn't be comfortable here; it wouldn't feel like home. The walls are thin, there are leaks, it's noisy here and too close to a busy road. The place needs a lot of work, and you have your hands full with other projects. You figured that out before I did. For both of us, I'm glad.
Let's be friends and neighbors. I don't want to be mad at you anymore.
With gratitude and affection,