I was chatting with a friend a few weeks ago about nothing in particular, when she surprised me by asking me if I felt like a part of me would always be in love with Colin.
The question surprised me in the very best way. I love these types of conversations, because the questions always challenge me. I do not fully understand why, but they do.
I spent a lot of time thinking about Colin's death and my life and how all of it related. Even so, questions like this come out of nowhere and sometimes even I am surprised by the answers I come up with.
I said the first thing that came into my head, which is that I have always felt like the part of me that feels "in love" was broken. Broken in a way that deceives me, tricks me and blinds me to reality. Being in love back then was a little bit scary for me, and sort of unreliable. I fell in love with all the wrong people, over and over again. So imagine how I mistrusted Colin, because I was in love with him. I was sure that something had to be wrong with him, because I wanted him, and everyone I'd wanted up to that point had been like a train wreck.
When he turned out not to be a train wreck I was really relieved. Maybe I wasn't so broken after all.
And then, really, he turned out to be the biggest train wreck of all. He healed me in the few years we were together before his death. And with his death, he broke me all over again.
So when I was asked if I would always be in love with him, in that moment I knew I wasn't in love with him anymore, and hadn't been for a long time. It's true, what they say: you really can get another husband.
What they don't tell you is that you can never replace your first real love; you can't ever replace the person who taught you how to love and laugh and cherish life. The unique interaction with someone who loves you and gives so freely of their heart just can't be replicated, no matter how many such people enter your life. There is no healing salve for a broken soul. Time helps, but that old saying about time healing all wounds... turns out that's a little bit of bullshit. At least, it is for me. Time just teaches you to go numb in places. Open up that wound, and it's just as fresh as the day you got it. You just get good at hiding how much it hurts.
I haven't thought about Colin in terms of "love" for a long time. You do learn to love again. You learn to laugh again, and to cherish life again. He was my best friend in so many ways and he changed my life; those are the parts that I miss. I miss his personality, and his heart. His bigger-than-life-ness.
I don't miss him as a husband or a lover. But as a friend... no matter how many I have there's a little space in my soul that remains empty, and always will.