5 Millennials and What They Would Have Said To The One That Got Away
Don’t we all have unfinished business?
Romance isn’t a one-size-fits-all formula.
While we’re taught to believe that love exists in black and white—that we end up with those we deserve, and the ones who won’t stay aren’t worth the trouble. However, that isn’t always the case—and sometimes it takes first-hand experience to discover that time, circumstance and life can get in the way of a promising could-be.
In time for Valentine’s Day, we’ve rounded up love letters from five people who’ve all had run-ins and romances with the one who got away.
To the Ones We Loved First
“First love, and all the perils that could come out of a long distance relationship.”
It’s already been a year. It feels so long but also quite short. It feels like I’ve known you forever and that I don’t know you at all. How bizarre it is to fall right where we started: strangers.
Maybe we still have a shot, maybe we don’t. Maybe someday I’ll stop looking for you in everyone else I encounter. Maybe I’ll eventually stop waiting for you to come back. But one thing is certain, you’ve taught me that growth and letting go can coexist alongside each other—to be able to say goodbye to what was, and to allow what could be to happen. And maybe one day I’ll finally stop looking back and see how far I’ve gotten.
To the Ones We’ll Never Move On From
“I met my Boyfriend when we were in Grade 10. We kept it as a secret because we were both closeted that time. After a year he confessed that he is in love with a girl.”
I really had the best time of my life when we were together. I wish that there is still a second chance between us, because I'm still not over him.
To the One That Could Have Been
“My college blockmate and I came to have a love-hate friendship, and a lot of people would think we were together. I didn’t think anything of it, until I realized much later that okay, maybe this guy is actually a really good person.”
I never understood just why I liked you so much—or why I still kind of do—after everything that’s happened between us. You aren’t my type at all, but in the span of a year or so, you managed to have me actually think that maybe in a different life with different circumstances, I'd want to be with you. You said yourself that we always seemed to want different things: I overworked myself constantly while you focused on doing what made you happy; I hated the idea of feelings, but you were so clearly a romantic.
I just knew it wouldn’t work out between us. Our end goals never seemed to be the same. And so I shot myself down before you could do it for me.
I hope you find happiness with the person you like, and I truly, genuinely hope it never ends up being me. You’re too important of a friend for me to lose, and I want to keep what we have between us the way it is for as long as I possibly can. A beat always skips in my heart whenever you say things that could be taken the wrong way now, not because of how i felt for you, but because you know I like you, and I know that you know. For all the bravery I like to pretend I have, I’ll always be too scared of change to let anything happen between us.
To the Ones Who Gave Up
“It was all going really well, and so I thought. It was Christmas when it all started to feel odd, cold even stretching a little over the New Year. ‘I woke up and I didn't l love you anymore in the way you still do,’ he said.”
I stood on the platform dividing two tracks at a station in Brooklyn on what was at that point the final stretch of my trip to New York city. With no definite agenda, my aimless mind was fascinated by the imminent coming and going of two trains, and just as the last hurrah of the day's sun glinted from in between skyscrapers, it dawned on me how I might have had a skewed view of love.
You see, I was immensely wary of meeting with you in this city you now call home, the very point of escape you sought out from an asphyxiating and limiting life here in Manila. But all that soon was debunked the moment we first met up before you so kindly offered me a place to stay—after all, lodging in the city is really steep. As if no time had passed by, we were just like old friends who got off the phone not too long before: joking, talking, and listening.
I'm not going to lie, I had thought there could have been something still there. Whether that remains truth or just fiction in my mind, I did learn something new about love. There's no need to antagonize those who've dashed your heart; I completely understand that there's more punctuation than a committed period. More importantly, as I sit here on a gloomy rainy day, I realized that perhaps you aren't my "the one that got away." (I'm giggling writing this because I suddenly heard Katy Petty warble in my head) I am the one that got away. I cannot speak on your behalf, but I am contextualizing it this way: All I needed, and still need, is myself.
Just like the trains at dusk in Brooklyn, we are always coming or going in the tracks of life. Whatever the circumstance may be, we will always reach somewhere, getting around to what the universe has in store for us—whether we had anticipated it or not.
All the best,
Kiki, minus the delivery service
To the Ones Who Moved On
“I loved a man and he loved me. We were separated by circumstance and time was not on our side. After a year apart, we reunited, but his feelings had changed.”
Hey, Charles! I just saw you last month and it felt good to talk to you, like how we used to. I hope you know that I meant it when I said that I’m genuinely happy that you’re happy. That’s all I ever wanted to hear from you. Even if things didn’t turn out well for us, I’m glad that the universe brought us together at one point in time. It may have been short and sweet, but it was enough to make me realize what true love feels like.
It seems even the best of us can cross paths with the ones who get away, even after arriving at what might appear to be a happy ending. Case in point: To All the Boys I've Loved Before protagonist, Lara Jean. Despite Lara Jean and Peter's fairy tale finish, it seems she learns a thing or two about the one who got away in the film's long-awaited sequel.
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