Natalie Allen

In Another Universe, We Are Together

In another universe, we were the lucky ones. In another universe, we made it.

In another universe you never experienced what you experienced. The world never weathered you the way it did, it never dug into the soul of you. In another universe, you didn’t associate love with leaving. In another universe, you always felt good enough. You always felt worthy.

In another universe, we didn’t have any questions. We didn’t have any other choices to make, any other options. In another universe, there were no doubts. In another universe, we didn’t worry about the statistics or the odds. We didn’t worry about regretting the way we chose to let our young hearts love, we didn’t worry about letting our young hearts risk.

But I try not to think about that universe, I try not to think about the “what ifs.” I try not to think about the depth of feeling at the end of all of this. I try not to think about the potential that hangs within the air, the capacity for us to meet again when we are both ready. I try not to think about that possibility, because right now I am living in a universe where love wasn’t enough. Where love didn’t win, or triumph, or come out on top. Right now, I am here — without you, and in this universe I am teaching my heart to be okay with that. Right now, I am learning that it is okay to stop fighting. To lay down my arms. To let things be.

So yes. Maybe in another time, in another universe, you and I are in your basement apartment and we’re showing each other new music while I burn the toast we are making for breakfast, and we are happy. We are happy and we are willing to fight for that. We are happy and that is all we need. But not here. Not in this universe. In this universe, I am taking all of the trips we planned alone. I am making myself breakfast in my own apartment. I am still burning the toast but you’re not there to laugh it off with me. In this universe, I am healing. I am growing. I am stretching into the space you used to occupy in my life, and I am learning how to be thankful for that. In this universe, I am choosing closure, even though it feels wrong and out of place. In this universe, I am moving on, even though it feels unnatural, even though it feels like I am leaving something looming behind. In this universe, I am accepting of what you need. In this universe, I am setting you free.