You know, there are a lot of things that I have learned on this trip—and I’m not talking about Alaska itself. I’m talking about the internal stuff—things about myself, things I need to work on and things I need to let go. I have gone through emotional trials and definitely dug myself in and out of some pretty interesting holes. But do you know what? The most important thing that I think I have come to figure out is that, in my entire life, I have only loved one man selflessly. Naturally, I’m talking about romantic love. This does not include family members or friends.
I have loved other men—been in love, even—but not the way I loved and continue to love him. He is the only one I have never been able to shake…and he is the one I hurt the most.
I guess we’ll call him Jack. I don’t know a Jack.
Jack is the most beautiful person I know. He does this weird thing when he smiles. I swear, it’s like he smiles with his entire body. I’ve never seen anything like it. He literally glows. It’s the kind of infectious goofy grin that makes your insides melt. In the years that I have known him, he has managed to give me butterflies even when I have dated other people and thereby forced myself to act like it wasn’t the case.
No matter how happy I was, in the back of my mind Jack was there—listening to Dave Matthews in the car, driving out to the beach, laughing about some ridiculous antic of mine, playing with my hair.
In retrospect, it was such a giant waste of energy. I have been single for nearly two years now and despite the fact that I date frequently, nobody compares to this guy. It’s an unsettling affirmation…particularly because I am the reason we are no longer together.
I have always known all of this. What is new is my sudden acknowledgement that, for me, there is no one else. Not one. I like other men—I would date other men—but in my heart there is always Jack. I nearly married somebody else and I still know this is true.
And, of course, Jack has more than likely moved on. That would almost make me happier. Hell, the only real reason I never went back to him when he still wanted me was that I was terrified I would continue to hurt him. I was fickle and confused and paranoid and guilty all the time. I didn’t want that for him. I figured that if he moved on he might be happier. Let me be very clear about this, hurting Jack was the single worst thing I have ever done in my entire life. Ever.
I left him for somebody else and the entire time that person and I dated, he was there picking me up when I was sad and taking me out to lunch. I felt like shit and I should have. I deserved to. I couldn’t go back to him—let him take me back when I was so undeserving. The most painful moment of my life was watching tears run down his face; tears that were shed because of me…streaking the most beautiful face I have ever seen in my life. It’s been four years and I still dream about it.
I am a fickle person with hardly any direction. I work in food and wine and I love it, but I know I want to do other things. I have all of these aspirations, but the problem is that I want to do everything. The only thing that has stayed the same is my love for him. In fact, it’s possible that I might love him more now than I did five years ago. The happiest moments of my life were spent driving around with him and going on little Jack and Kara Adventure Days—as we continue to call them (using his actual name, of course.)
He wrote a letter to me once—one telling me how happy he was that I had given him a second shot—again, I was torn and fickle back then—and it is the letter every girl dreams about getting. I still have it. I found it in my jewelry box. I could never bring myself to throw it away.
I doubt I will do anything about Jack. I know that he has more than likely put our romance behind him and, honestly, I don’t blame him. I practically forced him to do it. I would rather not bother him with any of this…it’s not fair to ask him to come back just because I am finally ready. Not if his life is less complicated otherwise.
But I do know this…If for some impossible reason he did still love me, there is no way in hell I would ever let him go. There are many fish in the sea…many wonderful men that I might even be able to love. But there is only one Jack. I know—I’ve looked.
So I suppose I will let it drop. The only thing more selfish than the way I acted before would be to bother him with this now. I will continue to tell myself that I am over him and, perhaps, I will manage to fake it until I make it. I know that’s what he did…and it seems to have finally worked.
But, since I doubt he will read this and I have disguised his name anyway, I guess I can be a pansy and say this…throwing it out into the internet for the hell of it…
I love you, Jack.