An open letter from the still-brokenhearted to the now-healing

Dear John,

Well, I’ve been waiting for this day to come for quite a while.

You haven’t been the Knight — my Knight — for a long, long time now. It’s been more than a year since we last spoke, and that was unpleasant at best. But I have trouble letting you go. I think of you often. And I hate it.

I check in on you, look at the pictures from your gigs, the paintings you’re filling our old apartment with. I walk past the apartment sometimes, look at the flowers you have planted in the box and remember our trip to Gethsemane to buy the first ones we put there. Sometimes your car is parked in your favorite spot. It alarms me that I still have your phone and license plate numbers memorized, but then, I’ve always done that.

Everyone knows I check in on you, so it’s not like I’m revealing some huge secret here in public. Everything is public for me. It always has been — you loved and hated that, I think.

Last week, I saw that your father had died. It was months ago, and though I knew he was sick, I had no idea. I saw a few recent photos of the girls on your sister’s Facebook page; they’re getting so big. They were fantastic — I loved knowing them. It reopens a wound I sometimes forget I have when I realize how far removed I am from your life now, your joy and your pain. I don’t understand why it hurts so badly.

You were kind of awful sometimes. We were kind of awful — a lot of the time.

And yet: Every time I come to Starbucks, I sit at my table armed with the hopeless hope that you’ll walk in. And this morning, you did. You were with another woman, and you looked like your version of happy. Always vaguely troubled, but smiling just the same. She put her hand on the small of your back, a guitar strapped to her own back, and leaned into you while you waited together to order your drinks.

She looks like you: relaxed, artsy, not too high maintenance. I hope you’re still playing as much as you did when you finally let yourself take the rock-star asshole thing back up. It looked good on you. (That awful mustache did not. If you ever read this, which I doubt you will…if I see that happen again, even in a photograph, I will come to your house with a razor and take care of the abomination for you. In your sleep.)

I hope seeing you like this means that you’ve moved on better than I have. I hope that someday you’ll look at me, and your gaze will be absent of the contempt I’m so used to. Maybe if you’re happy — really happy — we can actually be friends someday. Which is all I ever wanted when we broke up. You are so wise and profound and beautifully broken, and I miss your blue eyes and your biting wit. The way you bare your crooked teeth when you laugh. I miss your music and your collection of books and CDs.

I got a turntable a few months ago…I think of you every time I see it, even though it was another wonderful, giving man who helped me haul it away from my friend’s house and up the three flights of stairs to my apartment.

Memories of you are infused in far too many of my present life. Get out of my brain. Please stay. I hate you. I love you.

I’m so happy to see you — looking happy, even if it’s with someone else. No, especially because it’s with someone else.
It gives me hope for myself.


Love always, like it or not,


23 Responses to “An open letter from the still-brokenhearted to the now-healing”

  1. Steve Stearns Says:

    I admire your courage in being open with the world about these things.  There are relationships from my past that I routinely think about, and part of me wants to tell the world, but I never do.  

  2. BlahBlahBlah99 Says:

    I am living with the same, albeit more recent, wound. And doing the same things you are. My saving grace is that chance encounters are impossible as she moved away. I miss her and I think is the one I’ll never truly get over. 

    • paigeworthy Says:

      I’m sorry you’re hurting, too. And I hope you do “get over her,” whatever that actually means…and are left with only the loveliest of memories.

  3. Rebecca Kaplan-Shank Says:

    Oh, goodness. This hurt my heart. And it is a pain my heart is quite familiar with. Our emotions do some pretty awful things to us sometimes.

  4. Renee Kloeblen Says:

    I think I love you.


  5. Philip Says:

    Despite my advanced years this piece reached out and clawed at the open wounds of a lost and unresolved love. You have the ability to see deep into the souls of others with a rare universality  I am so grateful to have found despite the 6000 miles that separate us. Thank You Paige.

  6. Chelsea Fitch Says:

    I used to dream of my ex, regularly. Sometimes very odd ones that made me wake up and try to erase from my memory. I’d think, “Why was I thinking of you just before I fell asleep to give me such dreams?” It bothered me. It’s been years, but I finally removed mutual “friends”  from my Facebook, realizing I held onto them only for FB stalking and doing my own checking in. There were almost 40 of them unceremoniously unfriended. And perhaps I also held onto them to show them that I had found happier and better. Honestly, it wasn’t healthy. It can be hard to move on, but you have to take all necessary steps to do that for yourself, and it sounds like you are.

  7. Rachel H Says:

    This made a couple of tears well up.  I know those feelings well.  

  8. Hamsangwich Says:

    Oh, hi.  Sup, g?

    Chicago is a very large/small town, where you will cross paths with your ex. 

    Strike that.

    Chicago is a very large/small town, where you will cross paths with ALL of your exes – multiple times. 

    Lastly, if a guy were to write this entry, dare I even say it would be deemed creepy?  That’s how drama rolls.

    Like it or not, there’s still a chance to hold on to our love?  Cool!!

    Thanks for the insight into the female mind.  Duly noted. 


    • paigeworthy Says:

      I’m pretty sure it comes across as creepy from me, too — I’ve made peace with that. I recognize how extreme this is, but it made me feel better putting it out there. So. 

  9. Laura Watkins Says:

    This is quite timely, for me. I just found out on Friday that one of my exes just had a baby with the girl he left me for. I hadn’t thought about him in almost a year but all of these crazy feelings rushed back suddenly. It was very…difficult.

  10. Laura Scholz Says:

    So beautifully written, Paige. I’ve been there.

  11. Derek Says:

    The space in between what he was when you were near him and the person he is now doesn’t hold a candle to the space between him (then or now) and the man who will fill up your future. That’s all because of you, and exactly what this beautiful piece really demonstrates.

  12. Gia Says:

    So beautifully tragic. I think we’ve all had our moments like these. Major hugs. I just know even greater happiness is around the corner from you. And that’ll push some of the sadness out of your heart. All in time my dearest. XO

  13. Jonny Says:

    Dear Paige,

    While I am new to your blog, your experience is not to me.  When I read it, it reminded me of something completely different.  I truly understood your viewpoint of lost loves, but in my case, it reminded me of my parents.  They were married for 16 years, and divorced when I was seven.  I always watched in restaurants or other public places we might go, to see if either of my parents were there, perhaps in an effort to reconcile.  Or one would go out for an evening, and I was dreaming/hoping they were getting back together It never happened.  They really, really do hate each other.  Makes me wonder how they stayed together that long.  Anyway, sorry if this depressed you, but your experience did not depress me, rather, it made me think that if nothing else, there is always hope, and that with hope, there is some amount of happiness.  I’ll be checking on your blog frequently!  Great job!  –Jonny  

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