there isn’t anything in the world that feels like knowingly walking away from someone you love, leaving them behind, flying 3,000 some miles north on your own, by choice, maybe forever. it is not so much guilt as it is a deep, flowing despair… a refined knowledge of loss, the now absent sounds of mango tree leaves shifting in the breeze, his face through the glass, moments before running out to greet me.

the memory of the moment is only a little less terrible than the real thing. but i visit it everyday. i have to if i’m ever going to overcome it. those empty corridor walls, the ugly halogen bulbs glowing at each customs officer’s desk, the terrible echo each footstep of mine made as i walked through the tape. and later, sitting alone in the airport, unable to listen to any song because every song reminded me of him, of my life there, of everything i was leaving.

the worst part is, nobody understands. very few people leave behind love or life in such a manner. i’ve had other terrible breakups, other moves, but this is different, and i can’t describe it, i can’t make anyone understand where i’m coming from, not completely anyways. they don’t know enough about that place, its people, him.
the only thing i can tell myself is this: i have been incredibly fortunate. i have known a kind of love that many people never know. although it was and is painful, although it may not be ffor always, it was rare, and precious, and it is a part of me now, forever. it has changed me, he has changed me, other people there have changed me. ecuador changed me in ways i can’t ever explain to anyone. even off-brand bottles of soda changed me. everything there touched my heart in some way.
i suppose the only thing i can do is live out those changes, bring them into this world where i am now. make them real. feel grateful for them, and never forget the person i became because of them.
sometimes i stare at my reflection and see courage. other times, i see a monster.
i think that’s OK.

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