They say not to look back, to leave the past in the past, that it’s time to move on now.

But I do look back. Because you’re there. And I need to see you. Because I’m not through with you. I’m not through learning from loving you.

And so I look back. To look for the places that were weak. The places we broke. To see if maybe I could have done something differently. To know. Really really know that I did all I could then. And to know how I can do better now. To see what the breaking revealed.

I look for the places that were strong. The moments written in the spaces between us. The moments that live on even now. The moments that tell me there is still something between our souls. That there was, is and always will be.

I look back to see those things. To remind myself that even if we failed on the outside, even though we can’t be together now, there is something of us that lives and sings through it all today.

I look back to see the moments your eyes locked with mine and the true blue of them sparkled and spoke to me of knowing and connection. Of path and destiny and ancestors. Of things that came before those moments and things that were yet to come.

I look back to find the pieces I still need. The things I want to carry with me. A touch here. A laugh there. The time we stayed up late in that hot-as-hell little room that summer night talking about dreams and lies and betrayals. The way you looked at me like you needed another glass of wine, but we both knew wine would never touch that pain.

I need to remember the time you said I was sunshine and oxygen and how you felt like I was from another world and that no one ever touched the places I touched in you.

I need to remember the time you wrote that song. The one you said was about her, but I knew it was about me. About the way we changed each other. The way we both knew we’d never be the same. The way you could never really say that. (That was so like you, to hide behind a song.)

I need to remember why we had to move on and how it’s better this way and what I’m supposed to be doing with all of this now.

I need to look back because I need those pieces. Pieces of me that I left there. Pieces that I need to cry about. Pieces that I’m ready to feel now. Pieces that you gave to me that I’ve been refusing to take.

Which makes me think maybe I can stop trying to let go now.

Because maybe it’s not about letting go or trying to get over anything. Maybe it’s about letting yourself feel what you feel and love what you love and do what you have to do to be true. Waking up each morning with an ache in your heart and longing in your bones and still putting one foot in front of the other. Sorting through the pieces as they come and visiting whatever time and place you need to visit in order to do that. Finding that some things fall away and some things don’t. Finding that past, present, or future aside, there’s something bigger calling you on here. Bigger questions to ask and bigger stories to live into and something that keeps singing through it all. Something like soul and longing and love that just. won’t. quit.

I mean, how do you let go of that?

You don’t.

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