I Didn't Stop Loving You, I Just Decided To Stop Showing It

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I didn't stop loving you. I never stopped loving you.

You were the nicest person in the world. People say that about others but when it comes to you, there's a general consensus it's true: You were the nicest person in the entire world. You were so good. You were a saint.

At first, I got a rush off it. I was proud: the sweetest person in the world, and he picked me to date. I was the chosen one, the special one. I stood in your glow. I must be good and kind, so good and kind to date you, people thought. At least, I imagined them thinking.

We met in class. Then we got into politics together. A heady rush to organize teach-ins and talk to the media. You always pointed them to me, because you were sweet and you knew that deep down I was an attention whore. You were a master at pegging people's faults and loving them despite it.

You loved me for being an attention whore, an ADHD depressive, and kind of a slut. 

The night before the big protest, we sat in your room, legs crossed, forehead-to-forehead, and did some kind of Hindu-Buddhist compassion meld. I loved you for your dabbling in Hinduism. More than dabbling  you had a guru and chanted, and we talked about reincarnation long into the night. It went with your scatteredness, somehow. You were the Eastern religion boyfriend. You even taught me how to chant: Krishna krishna, hari hari.

That summer, you went back to your hometown to work. We visited each other as much as possible.

But as much as I liked you, I wanted to see other people. So we said we had an open relationship. You weren't OK with this, you told me later, but you acted like it. My friends were appalled I could do this to you and stopped speaking to me.

You stepped back while I developed a weird psycho-sexual relationship with a gay guy and his cocaine. I still saw you regularly, though we didn't sleep together. When I finally disentangled myself, you helped me move out of his apartment. Everything forgiven.

During the school year, you put up with my weird roommate. We slept on a sleeper-sofa mattress in a three-room house, two steps from the ghetto. You helped me when that roommate turned dangerous-crazy and stole a gun from his mother, along with a ton of my things. You helped me negotiate the police. I slept at your place from then on and it felt weird, being a graduate student living in undergrad housing. I didn't like it.

Sometime in there, I just decided I wanted to f*ck other people without an encumbrance. I broke up with you at the outdoor table of the local artsy bar. I didn't stop loving you. I never stopped loving you, I just decided not to show it.

My heart clenched as you walked away. My friends rallied against me. You told them to be nice. I cried.

I never stopped loving you, but as I eventually dated my husband, the love started to fade into dear friendship. We stayed away from each other for a while. But then you were gracious enough to take me back, this time as a friend.

You were in my wedding. You babysit my children. We're not in love anymore, but you were worth it.



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