An Apology Letter to My Ex

by Rachel

It started out with missing you. The distance was hard. Not at first, but as the years went on, I developed feelings for others. I wouldn’t call them feelings, looking back. It would be more appropriate to label them desires. And while you were not there to fulfill my desires, I was not patient enough to wait.


If I could turn the clock back, you know I would… He means nothing to me. I had no attraction to him upon meeting him, we had barely talked. How then? Because we shared the pain of knowing our loved ones choosing asylum with another.

For him, he was betrayed in the relationship. For us, it was more complicated. It felt as real a blow as if I had been with you at the time of the occurrence. It was a strike to my heart.

I believed myself a hypocrite, but never to this. Never to this, that dissolved my parents’ marriage. That destroys trust and burns bridges, to which I never would have thought myself criminal. How could I, so taken with you, commit such an atrocity? More unfathomable, how could you not forgive me? Me who expressed fear of commitment, hurt at your indiscretions, enduring love and appreciation for all that makes you, you. The same me who thought I could risk you for this… I was upset.

Over Thanksgiving you did not offer me what you promised. I brought it up toward the end of November – remember our fight? We left each other in a poor state, when it should have been nothing but a weekend of joy.

I was waiting for you to show me your love, your selflessness and appreciation for every part of my body. You promised me. Denying me of what I wanted most – not the pleasure, but the meaning of the act - wounded me.

As before, shame and disgust overwhelmed me. Why my friends could receive such gifts from their boyfriends and not me from you, someone with whom I felt I had the strongest bond of all, left me questioning. Doubting, were you right for me? Could I have it better? These selfish, revolting thoughts festered for years.

He and I were drinking, right after finals, before my voyage home to you. I had intentions with him months before. I had decided I was curious, that I would take you up on your offer to seek asylum with someone else. His smile was alluring and his sense of fashion and worldly experience led me to overlook his vice. It was late, my roommate was away, it was my opportunity. I may never have gotten another. I seized it, willingly. I had plans to ask him of purity, to protect myself, but in the moment, I threw it away. For what? For nothing at all.

Unimaginable, in the worst possible way. My breath heavy with alcohol, his mouth overwhelming with cigarette smoke. A body less than half to match yours. Movements: foreign, impersonal, rushed. A feeling left ashamed and disappointed, like opening up someone else's present, a gift of grandma panty liners. I spent the night but I did not sleep. Knowing he would be ever-present in my life at Madison, a constant reminder, I had to confess.

The residual guilt was as heavy as the moment I sinned. You did not react as expected, far from it. You had told me earlier that I was free to rid myself of unruly desires, to satisfy my curiosity. I don't believe you intended for me to wait until senior year. I should have come home right away. Then, we would have ended things over the phone.

You asked me why, how? The same questions I once asked you. I tried to explain but how can betrayal be defended? How can wounds left open be healed, without time? You called for another break. I lost myself.

I don’t remember what happened over Winter Break. I recall tears and anguish, like being set on fire in the middle of an ice storm. Thinking, we are over and it's because of me, because I made the poorest decision of my life.

For the remaining 5 months until Summer Break, I did not go out. I hardly ate. I slept, went to class, studied. I didn’t call my parents, hardly responded over text. But I called you. I called and messaged you every day for the first 6 weeks.

You either ignored me or blocked me, I cannot determine which pains me more.

I came home just last week, after my last final. I long debated visiting you. I was so ashamed and so hurt, to have not had contact with you in months. To know you were actively shunning me, shutting me out of your life, our vision. I felt death. Death of my heart, death of my spirit.

You are not aware, but I did visit before. I came to see you the day before my return to campus. It was January 14th, I had hoped the time we spent apart would lessen the pain. I hurriedly exited my car, dressed my best, a formal presentation and all awaiting you.

I was determined to win you back, but you weren't there. You were at your grandparents. I was greeted by your mother, and she knew. Whether you told her details or not, her disdain was tasted in her voice. Her eyes, cold as the blizzard we had earlier that week, gunned me down. I got out only one word: sorry.

She blamed me for coming in between your family and you. For taking away the time you should have spent with your siblings, with you parents, your grandparents. For breaking her son’s heart and offering him empty promises of wealth, adventure, eternal love and joy.

As a privileged white girl, I would be okay. "You have done nothing but left him in a worse state, deterred his growth, crushed his visions..." She wasn’t done but I ran.

I stammered sorry and ran, plowing head first into the snow. Bad idea. But it helped sooth the burning in my body. The drive home was the longest in my life. I had never felt so low, so cold, so close to death.

I’m sending you this, I’m not sure why. I don’t feel we'll ever be on the same page, team or position again. I feel too shameful and you feel too wounded for this to work. You've given up and now I am forced to forsake my vision of us.

This is the hardest day of my life, giving you up. Harder than when I found out about the divorce, or when Shannon was moving in, harder than when my grandma died, or when my dad called me a “effing bitch.”

I just want you to know, chéri, that I will always love you. I am always here for you. I will always regret this.

Toujours et à jamais, Rachel

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