It all started with a photo of the Clifton Suspension Bridge.
Immediately, there was a flash of warm recognition. Hey, I know that place! Perking up, I leaned closer, squinting at the familiar structure. Wait a minute, I thought. What is that? I don’t even know where that is. How do I figure I “know” something I’ve never seen?
It didn’t take me long to realize what it was, and more gut wrenchingly, where it was. I scoffed at my whimpering heart and went back to whatever I had been doing before my staunch crusade of denial had been disturbed.
After all, I didn’t care anything about Bristol. I didn’t care about their little bridge. I didn’t care anything about the one person I associated with Bristol either. And I sure didn’t care that I fondly, but begrudgingly remembered him showing me pictures and telling me about the silly little bridge I most definitely did not care about. Right? Right.
The bridge was just the beginning.
Before long, I started seeing his first name… spelled with a “ph” instead of a “v”. This was a common enough occurrence, so I could easily shrug it off as mere coincidence— until his surname began shadowing me as well.
The oddest occurrence pertaining to this actually came from a random desire to watch football (Outside of the Super Bowl, I never previously made it a point to watch football on tv). There was one game in particular that I had this indescribable, unavoidable compulsion to watch. I can’t even describe it; it was as though I intuitively knew there was something important for me to see.
Well, I sat down with my parents on game night to watch it. In between plays I would scan the field and the stands, making sure that I wouldn’t miss whatever I “needed” to see. I remember joking about my little scavenger hunt with my mom, which caused her to go on the look out too. By then, she’d started telling me about her similar “coincidences” involving the same person.
All at once, I pointed to a random player on the screen and excitedly shouted, “Him!” At the time, I didn’t even know what I was yelling about. There was just something about him that I was drawn to. However, he was just the kicker. Nothing out of the ordinary. When he turned around, giving the camera a clear shot of the name on his jersey, my mom and I both gasped. The surname had struck yet again!
Still, it had to be a coincidence. It couldn’t mean anything. It simply couldn’t.
Down The Rabbit Hole
Suddenly, his favorite sporting event was everywhere I looked. And although it is hardly as mainstream here in the US as it may be in Europe, I could scarcely get away from it.
To make matters worse, I’ve been watching gameplay of upcoming PS4 games I want to get on Youtube recently. Everything has been reminding me of him. I couldn’t get through a video without impulsively thinking, Ooh, ******* and I would have so much fun playing this. I wonder if ******* is going to get this? I wish ******* and I could talk about how awesome this is going to be when it gets released. Wasted words.
Let’s not forget how his pet name for me, which isn’t entirely common at all, has started sprouting up like a weed in the last few weeks. (Sigh)
Coincidences aside, it could be argued that I’m not helping matters any. I still keep the pillow he made for me on my bench. Photos of our London trip (sans shots of us) are scattered throughout my bedroom. I even use my copy of the photo book I made him for Christmas as a privacy shield in my bathroom window while I’m showering.
I know, I know… totally peculiar. It’s probably not ideal to see your ex’s face while you shower, but I like showering with natural light, which requires the window shade to be drawn. And well, I have consideration for my neighbors, so I obscure their view with the photo book because it’s wide enough to be a perfect fit. Besides, I try not to look at our selfie on the back cover.
Is this convincing you? Because I don’t think it’s working on me either.
A Necessary Apology
Our relationship needed to end— there is no doubt about that. Both of our lives were muddled and murky, rife with unfinished business and lack of focus. We were spread entirely too thin to keep carrying on the way we were, so a breakup was our only real chance of salvaging the relationship or what was left of ourselves. From the very beginning, I truly believed everything would be okay by now. We’d reunite and get married just like we’d planned. I don’t know why I thought that. Nothing in my life has ever gone according to plan, so why did I think this would be any different?
At any rate, I’ve grown tired of all the reminders of him. We didn’t work out, and despite my refusal to throw his gifts away, I’ve genuinely moved on. I mean, I haven’t bothered to go on a date since we broke up, but the mental readiness is there. Though I have hardly made much active effort to search for a new romantic interest, I’ve been doing all that I can to at least be fully prepared to be a good partner once the right one comes along.
All the same, it has been hard to ignore the growing intensity and frequency of these… “events”. And though I have zero regrets about having made the decision to end the relationship, I’ve never felt completely free. On the contrary, I still feel as though I am spoken for. I’ve fought against this feeling for awhile now, but it isn’t going away. In some weird, non-delusional way, it has always felt as though we were simply existing in two different spaces with someone pressing their finger on the pause button. It has never felt as over as it has appeared.
In a past post, I once wrote that I would never ever date him again if given the opportunity. At least, I thought I’d posted that. I may have written and deleted it before publishing the post because when I went looking for this dramatic declaration this morning, I couldn’t find it anywhere. Perhaps I had known I was lying even as I typed it. But if I really did say that (and I just couldn’t find the right post), I would like to publicly admit that I misspoke. And even if I didn’t say it, I’m sorry for thinking it.
Last night, when I was communing with God, I finally decided to ask Him what all of this meant. All of these memories. All of these occurrences. All of these feelings. Once and for all, I wanted to know if I was barking up the wrong tree entirely. Was it true… what I’d been hearing lately? Was it possible that the man I was looking for was right in front of my face without me realizing it? I had to know. I’d been avoiding what my heart was telling me, but as I sat there in the dark, I was desperate to stop denying what felt like the truth.
After sitting quietly for a period of time, a verse popped into my head: Philippians 2:20. Of course, I’m not a bible scholar, so I had to look it up. Even though this happens to me from time to time, I often fear that I’m merely coming up with the verses myself… as though He isn’t giving them to me. And though I tend to assume the verses aren’t going to be relevant to my issue (especially if I’m “making them up”), it never fails to be the perfect scripture for the situation. I guess that rules out the whole “making stuff up” theory, huh? Well, last night’s verse was no exception:
“I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare.”
This answers a question I have been asking God for two years: Despite the current state of things, are we still meant to be together? Though I would have previously sworn up and down that I had never received an answer from Him (not such a straightforward one, anyway), I had always known the answer.
I knew the answer the moment I first laid eyes on him, really. I knew the answer when things were good. I knew the answer when things got bad. I knew the answer when I told him I could no longer go on with things being the way they were. I knew the answer when I tried to entertain other men and realized that even at his worst… he was still leagues above them all. So even though I knew all of this, it took me until now to actually accept it.
It all started with a photo of the Clifton Suspension Bridge.
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