This is my ex, Michael, last Christmas. Once upon a time, I was in love with him, but I screwed it up … badly. Really, really badly.
My mind keeps going back to him because last year at this time he astounded me with one of the sweetest holiday weekends I’ve ever had. He told me to pack a bag, come to his place, and just let him take care of the rest. And he did. He told me he was taking me to a fancy holiday dinner, and he had bought a dress for me to wear. Then he presented me with five huge boxes from Saks, which he wrapped with big red bows and placed on the bed and said “Pick the one you like” - it was the sweetest gesture I’d ever seen (and so smart! No guy can pick a perfect dress if he has one try … but five? His odds are much better! I found one I loved amongst them - I’m wearing it in the photo above) … Then after dinner, he surprised me with the Nutcracker (he knows I love ballet), which required him buying tickets months in advance. And to top it off, after I had put on the dress, I actually said, “oh shit, I didn’t bring earrings to go with this,” and he said, “don’t bother!” and pulled out pair of gorgeous emerald earrings … and a love letter. Um … wow.
Michael always did things like that. He took me on weekends away, he wanted me to spend Thanksgiving with him, he wrote me love letters constantly, he helped me with my career, he adored my pet dog Lilly. He drew me baths and cooked me dinners and took care of me in a way that made me feel both safe and adored.
And yet, I gave nothing back. I had just had three years of non-stop, incredibly heart-wrenching drama in my relationships, and I had just left my boyfriend of two years, with whom I was living and who I thought at one time I would marry. I was so fucked up that I literally felt like I had nothing left to give. I was numb.
But there was Michael, this gorgeous, brilliant, amazing guy, who showered me with love and affection and kindness, and I couldn’t … give back. I just couldn’t. I didn’t have it in me. And you know how they say “it’s not you, it’s me”? IT REALLY WAS ME. I was emotionally bereft.
He tried so hard, for so long. He thought if he just loved me enough, he could fix me. But I had to fix myself. Finally, after Christmas, he flew to Chicago to try to convince me to spend new years with him. And I said no. That was it for him. He had been trying for almost a year by then, and he was tired and he was sad. He found someone else, he’s still dating her, and by all accounts they’re happy.
I’m glad he’s happy. He deserves it. But more than anything, I want to tell him I’m sorry. I want to tell him how much I appreciated everything he did for me for the year and a half we were best friends. I want to tell him that I understand - finally - how horrible he must have felt, and that I would give anything to have been the normal, emotionally healthy Julia I am today, so I could have shown my love for him as much as he showed his for me.
But he won’t call me back.