Letter to My Ex: Breathe

By an anonymous contributor

Dear Ex

I call you ex because it doesn’t feel much different to me. I know you’re not my ex, never will be, but a lover that never really was.

It’s almost a miracle we can stand each other, stand in this soft knowing together. You, a bold, fiery man who quickly reverts to anger as a defence mechanism and me, a woman who acts like she has all the confidence in the world and yet sometimes inside she quivers, ‘I am so small, so very small’.

We should probably hate one another, but we don’t. And your anger is never reflected on me, at least not since we touched bodies and souls. I told you how beautiful you are and you dropped down all your defences like a suit of clothes, relaxed, breathed again.

You do the same for me. For once, there’s not an eye roll, not a look of contempt as I panic at the smallness of being who I am, which is always bundled up and repackaged as something else.

You say, ‘Let’s go for a walk.’

I don’t have to speak, and you walk with me while I say nothing. But when I finally gather my thoughts they fall out, embarrassingly small, you offer me no argument. You do not say my thoughts are irrational, or that I have a thing or two to learn.

You allow me to breathe.

I have never been less in your eyes for my imperfections. Not for a single moment – you offer me more space than I ever thought possible and the more you give, the less I need. Have you noticed that?

Funny, considering my partner before you was certain he had it all figured out, switching between ‘winning at all costs’, to trying to teach me how ridiculous I am. I held my words, held my breath.

You don’t pretend to have it all together. You stand tall and strong, but you’re willing to be uncertain. You have harsh barriers that you are ready to topple down and explore what’s beneath, and you’re not afraid to do so. You treat me as an equal and we seek to understand, not compete. You come to me with an open heart as though I were another piece of you. I am.

I will never forget that night we first kissed, when you touched me. I can still feel your touch running all through me, like waves… and waves… and I peel myself off you, before it’s too late and I fall too deep.

Thank you for showing me what love is.

It’s just breathing.

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