As he begins to raise his voice
You lower yours and grant him one last choice
Drive until you lose the road
Or break with the ones you’ve followed…
– The Fray, “How To Save A Life”
Maybe I could love him if I wanted to, I think.
Maybe I could love him if I let myself…
I could convince myself that this is what I’m feeling now — the beginning throes of a love with this stranger rather than what it really is, seduction laced with passion. I could lose myself in missing him, wanting to be near him, in the comfort and familiarity that just his presence seems to inexplicably bring; I could let him drown me in kisses and touches and whispers of all the words I want to hear, all the words we both want to believe.
I could excuse the drinking, believe the lies.
I think, I could be that someone for him. That someone who says the right words and is there at just the right time; that someone who recognizes a plea for help, that someone who offers her hand — who offers every part of herself — to be that saving grace.
I could so easily slip back into that role — him needing someone and me needing to be needed, so that we can at least pretend we’re not so alone like we know, outside in the world, we might just be.
I could slip into that darkness with him — share in the tears and the sorrow and the self-loathing that punctuates every pause, his haunted eyes begging for some scrap of hope, his mind wrestling with his own ghosts as he struggles to find meaning.
I could tumble down that rabbit hole where adventure is promised but dreams are compromised. I could give him my heart, with nothing left of myself…
…if I let myself.
Maybe sometimes the wanting to love and be loved in return is greater than the loving itself. It fools you and tricks you and paints a vision that is only an empty illusion. We claim we want love and we shun it in the next breath because we’re so afraid to peer beneath its layers and find the truth in what we want — dangerous and seductive and consuming, it can drown you; truthful and tender and sincere, it can show you how to fly.
I needed to fly once upon a time, but instead, I found myself drowning, though I didn’t know it until I was already in too deep. I would have followed this first love into deeper waters still, back then, back when love was young and new and I believed that’s what it meant to love. The betrayal and hurt and dissolution of that relationship led to a heartache that kept me from seeing that, in the end, while I had wanted to save him, he had saved me.
I needed to fly and he couldn’t — wouldn’t — come with me.
And so he let me go.
And I will love him ever more for that.
I’ll never regret that first love because it was strong and it was true, but it was young.
And I don’t think I’ll ever regret this — wanting the best for this person who in every essence is still a stranger; caring, still, though I know I shouldn’t, even as we maintain our distance.
All the charm and the chemistry in the world can’t bring me back to that place; all the sweet smiles and pretty words can’t keep me there. No matter how my heart yearns to heal and save and fix, I can’t bear that responsibility…It’s not my responsibility to bear.
Maybe, in some unforeseen way, you can influence their lives for the better; maybe there’s a smile or a sympathetic ear or a laugh to be shared that will linger in their heart long after you’re gone…But that doesn’t mean you have to hold on.
Wish them well, say a prayer, whisper your goodbyes.
Let them fly on their own.
I could believe that this is all I deserve, believe that this is all love is. I could convince myself that it’s all the same as before, like the past is set on repeat and once again I have a choice and if I choose to love him, then I will most certainly lose myself to the darkness that I swore I would never fall back to.
…but I won’t let myself.
Because this time it’s different. This time, I’m different…
I’m ready to walk away.
This time, I’m ready to save myself.
Is it really true?
Could you save yourself
for someone who
could love you for you?
– Senses Fail, “Save Yourself”