“To My Wife, I Know You’re In Love With Another Man. And That’s Okay.”
I first met you when I was 19. I’m 34 now, but I still remember the moment I laid eyes on you. You know how people say, “It was love at first sight?” Well, I used to think it was a stupid overused cliché, but it happened to me that night. You were a Renaissance painting come to life, with your emerald green eyes, smooth, opal-like skin, and wavy blue-black hair. Your voice was like bells pealing. Your smile, radiant and glowing.
I was your first kiss. I was your first boyfriend, your first love, your first everything. We dated for 2 years before you broke up with me for the first time, over some silly argument I don’t even remember. We were split for a year, and then you came back into my life.
We dated for nearly 3 years this time around before you broke up with me again when I was 25. You were scared by how fast our relationship was moving and wanted to be free. So I let you be free, but God, how it hurt me. We were practically engaged by that time. I was sketching out designs for a ring.
I dated other women, but none of them were like you. You also dated other people, some good men, some mediocre, and some really, really bad. You cried in my arms after one of your boyfriends had yelled at you and left bruises on your cheeks.
But one day, less than 2 years after we had last broken up, you told me you were engaged (to one of the good ones). I went to your wedding. You looked like a Queen, every bit as beautiful as the day I first met you. How your face lit up as you saw your soon to be husband! I always thought, that when I attended your wedding, I would be the groom.
Wedded bliss didn’t last long for you. After just a few months of marriage, your husband passed in a tragic accident. You miscarried your child. This sent you spiraling into a whirlwind of depression, anxiety, and opioid addiction. Yet I stood by you. I watched as you buried your husband and your unborn child, I watched as you collapsed onto the ground, watering the fresh earth with your tears.
Some years later, we reconnected. You were recovered now, and more like the girl you once were. Your laughs were fewer and far in between, but they were still there. Your once youthful and innocent eyes were harder now, more weary, tired. But despite all this, despite everything, I still loved you.
And deep down, you loved me too. For the second time before you turned 30, you were married. To me, this time. Sometimes, it hardly feels real. I wake up in the middle of the night and hear you breathing beside me, and a wave of pure joy washes over me when I realize that it’s you.
Still, I know that I don’t have your heart completely. I know your heart is fragmented, and a piece of it is buried in a small graveyard by the sea. Your name is written on that tombstone as well, with your year of birth and a foreboding blank space after the hyphen. Some nights you wake up crying, and you will not tell me why, but I know why. Sometimes I know that when I wrap my arms around you, you close your eyes and pretend that it’s him.
I know that, and it’s alright. I love you, and that’s all that matters, so long as you love me too. Love is an infinite resource, and your love for him cannot deplete your love for me. I know that.