All of us have that one person in our lives: the one who never leaves.
The one who never leaves is both always and never around. He is here, but at the same time, he isn’t.
PHOTO BY NICO WIJAYA.
You cannot hold his hands or kiss his cheek or hug him from behind anytime you like. He is not going to text-flirt you or call you every single day or pick you up for a night-out (that will end up with an episode of snuggling in a couch, talking about dead authors and unheard poems). He may not give you presents on your birthdays or send you postcards from faraway places when he travels. You cannot run to him when you’re having a breakdown and cry on his shoulders–seeking a familiar comfort on the slope of his neck that you have known by heart.
At first, you think you love and hate him with a more or less similar intensity. However, the more you try to hate him, the more you realize that you can’t. Of course, he is not perfect. He has his own flaws. He has his own issues. But he has also loved you and hurt you so deep, to the extent that both the love and the wounds have transformed you completely–you will never see the world the same way ever again.
And then you get it.
You can’t hate him simply because you love him too much to be able to hate him. After all the ups and downs, fireworks and turmoils, late night romance and silent tears, no matter how sad and lonely you feel, deep down inside you know that all you really want is for him to be happy. It surprises you, at times, that you are actually capable of loving someone that way.
The one who never leaves will always be around as you’re stepping into the milestones of your life: a relocation to an exotic country, an international best-selling book, an around-the-world trip for a year, a death in the family, an engagement, a marriage, a first child. He may be there to congratulate or console you (either in person or via Facebook), or he may not. But you know that he is (and will always be) the first person that comes to mind when you’re having these big moments in your life. And for a while, in the midst of euphoria or tragedy, he reminds you of the person you were, the person you always are, and the person you choose to be.
The one who never leaves is there inside of you as you’re listening to your favorite songs. When you’re visiting beautiful places and dancing with beautiful strangers. When you’re having a cup of coffee, gazing out the window, and realizing that you’re looking at such a lovely view. He is in your heart when you’re spending your time doing the things you love, as you’re falling in and out of love with somebody new, when you finally have the courage to kiss someone and be vulnerable again after a long time.
You know that this is how the two of you are: that you have gone your separate ways and lived your separate lives. No matter how close you are to the one who never leaves, there is also a distance now–one that is not merely physical–that you cannot trespass; unless he allows you to. But you will never know if that will happen, or whether you would want to cross that distance once again. So you are moving on with your life, your heart has healed from its swells and bruises and only gotten stronger.
If you’d like to be really honest, there will always be a glimmer of hope, no matter how faint, that the one who never leaves will be the one you can hold and hug and kiss every single day, the one you can cuddle and snuggle with whenever you feel like it, the one you can wake up to in the morning and fall asleep with at the end of a lovely evening. But soon, you ditch that hope and smile as you slip into another sunny day of yours, knowing that life is good the way it is. He has appeared in your life and you know that it’s enough of a blessing in itself.
Today, whether he’s here or not does not really matter anymore–and it does not bother you at all. Because despite everything, you know that he will always be the one who never leaves.