until next time

THEN

I

I never saw it coming. I insisted after first meeting him in January – he visited Nashville for a few days from his San Franciscan home – that we were to just be friends, and nothing more. He agreed these terms were acceptable.

I was carefree and had nothing to worry about. He was polyamorous and I was unwaveringly monogamous. He had two girlfriends and I had my single lifestyle mindset well set into place.

I knew there was no substance to his perfect words, no substance to mine. We were having fun. In the age of Tinder pen pals, I considered this on par with any other unworthy contenders for my attention.

I got to say whatever I wanted. We texted not just words but beautiful essays; about our day, our youth, our anything and everything. It was all very You’ve Got Mail meets country fun and I basked in every second of it.

HE

He started setting up phone calls with me. We spoke nearly every day after work. He seemed to like my attention and so I just continued to give it; I liked his attention too.

He opened up to me. We shared stories and songs, dreams and secrets. He almost seemed genuine, though I remained strong in my stance that men are liars and none of the connection was real.

He booked another trip to Nashville. We talked about all the fun we’d cram into the one day he allotted to spend with me. He seemed to be falling for me, and I remained in denial that I was falling for him.

WE

We snuck in a kiss – on the steps of the Ryman – before our designated window of time together and I texted everyone that knew of our story that I had the end to the romantic tale I had started to write three months ago. I was over him, I was over it. “It wasn’t a good kiss, there was no connection,” was the lie I tried to tell myself and my friends after our lips finally touched.

We had the worst start to our 24 hours together. I told him in my apartment, in a moment of déjà vu reflecting on three months prior, that all we could ever be was friends. It hurt like hell, and it was in that moment I realized that he had meant every word he’d ever said to me, and I’d meant every response, every emoji kiss, I ever sent back.

We had the perfect date. I never wanted it to end because it was too unreal, too perfect. He almost seemed like he loved me, and I gave in to every feeling I had for him, as I – for once in my life – really lived in the moment, in the best day of my life.

We drove to the airport to get him back to California. I told him no one had ever looked at me the way he does. He told me that their eyes didn’t realize what they were looking at.

BETWEEN

I suffered angst I didn’t know I had in me. I wrote out eight different good morning text messages to him, unable to decide on which one would be the choice, that I knew I still couldn’t send. I posted every one of them on this blog instead, as a love letter, in hopes that he would read them and see them, to know how I was feeling without breaking my position of ceasing the relationship we had that somehow snuck up on me.

He wrote back. His words were gut-wrenchingly powerful – no crazy of mine could drive him away – and I read them over and over as I saw how he felt, how they revealed to me even more how I felt. I sent them to everyone who may have ever doubted the connection that we had, so they could witness the happening of a pivotal moment, so they could see a seeming love story unfold in real time, and sit on the edge of their seats as I sent a bold request.

Hey CountryMan, I could give you fifty reasons why I should be the (only) one you choose…all those other girls, well they’re beautiful, but would they write a song for you? I guess I have to move on. I can’t, though, without asking, confirming…are you sure you’re not ready? There’s a spot here in Tennessee, right next to me, and life is too short to not ask to have you there. I probably know the answer but I’d never forgive myself if I didn’t foolishly, selfishly, fatally request: can you choose just me? Like George Strait sings, I think this is how love goes – Check Yes✅  or No❤️ . I could’ve gone with an X but even in being denied, wouldn’t mind one more ❤️  from you next to your name on my screen. I don’t know that I can bear any more of your words, an emoji might just have to do.

If the answer is still no, I’m going to move on, but know I only can because of the glimmer of hope that a ✅  could ever one day show up. “Until next time” gives me not just hope for you but faith in love as a whole in this life. That it’s real, that it’s out there for me.

Thank you for sharing in our beautiful love story.😘 ❤️  Its been worth all the pain.

Text ✅  or ❤️

We spoke on the phone. He told me he fell in love with me, that he was sorry he did, that he’d leave it all, he’d have me by his side, but that his girlfriends that he loved were a part of that package. I told him I fell in love with him, that I wasn’t sorry I did, that I selfishly wanted him to leave it all, I’d have him by my side, but that I had to be his only girl.

NOW

I have never been in love. I suppose I have, but not like this, which makes me question if anything before could be categorized as such. Our love is a love I didn’t know was out there, and it was only just beginning to be ending so soon.

It’s really something to love and be loved. There’s nothing greater in this life. The positive side of me wants, and will eventually land, on this sentiment as my final resolve in it all after I had to leave, and he had to let me go and knew what that would mean.

I’m not ready for resolve today, nor for the foreseeable future that seems like it’ll be an eternity. I know it’s not right to think this way but I can’t help but be almost tempted to question if I could’ve done something different. I sit here in my oversized Ryman tee that makes me think of him, mascara-covered cheeks, and glass of red wine looking like a mess, and feeling somehow that he would still find me beautiful in this unattractive moment, and I break down to still ask the question, “Why is your answer a❤️, and will it ever be when will it be a ✅ ?”.

I know he’d say no words have been left out. He’d say everything was perfect. I wonder if he’s wrong, and I could’ve said whatever it was he needed to hear to persuade him to have me be his one and only, but he can’t see it.

I don’t know why he can’t be mine. I can rationalize with facts and be my level-headed self in due time, but in this moment I want to hang onto that crazy, irrational passion that I never knew I had in me to just sit deep into this pain, sadness, and hope. I can’t help but wonder if I can someday – and someday soon – call him mine, he can call me his, and we can be together.

I told him I was going to move on. He wants for me, when I find someone, to make sure whoever that someone is will be a good man who will care first about my heart, but I want that someone to be him. We shared a moment before he left when I said we arrived at goodbye, but he told me it wasn’t goodbye; it’s just until next time.

UNTIL NEXT TIME

I’m not supposed to pine so I’ll tell you I won’t and pretend yet again that my lies to you and myself about what we have will evolve into truth. I hope the second you feel I’m no longer waiting will be the secret, the catalyst, to having you come steal me away. I pray you have better success in your theft mission for my all-for-you-and-you-alone heart than I did for yours.

I love you. I futilely keep checking my phone for any received text, any missed calls that’ll say ✅ . I wish you could pick just me, and pray you still will one day soon.

I don’t know how you can choose to want to love anyone else but me. I don’t know that I want to choose to love anyone but you. Whatever our love eventually shows itself to be, at least we both now know that it’s there, it’s real, and we didn’t regrettably pass up the chance to make it spoken.

Until next time can’t come soon enough.

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