A story about you (and them)

Column by Dylan Doyle, contributing writer

Dylan Doyle
Dylan Doyle

They hurt you. Someone you trusted, someone you confided in. A dear friend, a significant other, a family member – whoever it was, they said something. They did something.

We are not talking about a minor offense here. A line was crossed, and you remember the hot, seething mixture of rage and pain and grief. You remember how it twisted your insides and burned at your tongue until you said things, too. You lashed out in a desperate attempt to make them feel as awful as they made you feel. Mistakes were made. Regrets were born.

You do the human thing. You pull out your trusty scissors and cut them off. You carefully slice them out of the fabric of your life, and you find that you enjoy watching the ribbons of memories fall to the floor. You tell yourself you are better without them anyway, and maybe you are right.

Then again, maybe you are wrong. Eventually, you realize months have passed. You become painfully aware of the hole they left in your being. At some point, you assign a word to this empty feeling: you miss them.

Nostalgia is a tricky beast, and you know that we often remember the good times and forget the bad. Even so, you miss your person. They hurt you, they shook your core – you have not heard from them since the incident, so on top of all of it, you also feel abandoned. Where do you go from here?

I offer this wisdom: stop missing people who are not missing you. He who threw the first stone should also throw the first apology, but life is rarely so clean. You have to decide for yourself if closure is worth swallowing your pride, and so do they. Ideally, they would instigate the conversation. You will be tempted to wait for that to happen, but you are wasting your time.

If they have made it this far without you, they do not need you, and perhaps they never did. This is not your concern. Focus on the fact that you have also made it this far without them – it seems you did not need them either, at least not as much as you thought.

Will they come back? Will you finally be able to patch that hole in your quilt, that page of text missing from your book? Perhaps, and perhaps not. In the meantime, resist the urge to close the gap. Do not try to fill the void with other people or empty pursuits. At any rate, why would you want to? You fought hard for that experience – that gap taught you something important.

Now you know what you are made of, and you know how to stand on your own. If your person does come back, your relationship with them will be all the better for it. If they do not, your relationship with yourself is more important anyway.

You do not know what lies ahead, and that understandably terrifies you. It is natural to be scared of loss, but remember the old cliché: when one door closes, another door opens. In the story of you and them, there is often another chapter waiting to be written. Let that come or not come as the Fates decide.

Remember this, though: in the story of you and only you, there is always another chapter in store. Make it one worth reading.