I Should Have Left You Sooner, by Melinda Mendez

I remember sitting crying one night when a song came on the radio. You never understood why I cried that night. I never did explain it to you, even after you got angry and stormed around the house. You never did understand that sometimes I just needed to cry and that it didn’t always mean you’d done something wrong. That night, though, it wasn’t so much that you had done something wrong. The reason for my tears was more that you had simply never done anything right. I tried to explain to you that just because you’ve done nothing wrong doesn’t mean you did everything right, and you never understood that either.

I guess in the end it was this lack of understanding that did in our relationship. Of all the things we struggled through, the only one I couldn’t ever move past was you sitting there staring at me with that blank look letting me know that we simply never were on the same page.

But that night, the radio came on, and the song playing had the following lyrics, “You’re a complicated lady, that’s for sure, with a need for someone unafraid to make you feel secure. And if you wonder if I’m strong enough to be your man: Yes I am…”

That’s when the tears started to fall. You see, that’s what I needed… someone strong enough to be there for me, knowing that it would really take someone with amazing strength to do so, and I knew, in that instant, with those words from that song, that it was clear to me you were not strong enough. You weren’t the one.

And my heart broke inside. Not for me, but rather for you.

You used to tell me I was your dream, but you never were mine. I cared for you. I might have even loved some part of you inside before I learned all the truths about who you are and how you did the things you do. But you never were my dream. I had the dream, held on to it the entire time I was with you, part of me hoping you would, maybe, possibly, show in the end that you could fulfill it. I really struggled with this too. You see, it’s not that I didn’t want to love you. I really, in a way, wish I could have loved you. I wish I really could have been that dream you held so dear.

I don’t guess I ever told you I was sorry for not being able to be that for you. I am, though. I mean, I don’t want to try again. I don’t want to go back in time. If I had it to do over again, I wouldn’t likely even start. But that doesn’t mean I’m not at least a little bit remorseful that I couldn’t live up to the dream you had. It wasn’t entirely my fault, but I do know how much it hurts when a dream is revealed to be less than what you’d hoped. It hurts. I get that.

But that pedestal you put me up on was so high I couldn’t reach it myself. Every time I fell off it, you simply weren’t strong enough to keep lifting me back up onto it anymore, and quite frankly, I didn’t want to be up there, so I fought you every time you tried to put me up there.

So that night, the song comes on, and I cry. That’s the night I knew things were over between us. Everything from that point forward was nothing but biding my time until it ended. I turned cold that night, shut you out, closed myself up to you. It wasn’t fair. I should have just told you the truth. You were no saint and the things you did, the lying, the sneaking around, the cheating—they were all wrong, and you have no excuse for them—but that doesn’t make what I did to you right either.

I didn’t cheat. I didn’t leave you, but in reality, I should have. I should have been fair to you the moment I knew you loved me and I didn’t love you. I should have been honest with you the moment I knew it wasn’t going to work out. I shouldn’t have wasted a year of your life letting you hold onto a dream that had long ago faded.

I just wanted to say I’m sorry. I’m sorry I led you on. I’m sorry I made you believe there could be more than when I knew all along there couldn’t be. I’m sorry I lied to you and to me by saying that I felt something I never really felt.

If it’s any consolation, I wanted to love you. I wanted to be all the things you thought I was. My intentions, in the beginning, were good, and my intentions in the end were for survival.

But your heart broke anyway… and I had it within my power to prevent that and prevent myself feeling worthless and foolish when the inevitable happened and you screwed around and lied and cheated.

When I told you she would hurt you, when I warned you that she would do to you what you had done to me, I took no satisfaction. There was also no satisfaction when exactly what I said would happen did happen. And when you tried to stay in touch with me and the only time you ever called was when you wanted or needed something from me, like money or a ride or free work, I didn’t say no to hurt you. I did it because of two reasons, the biggest of which was that I didn’t want to lead you on again.

But the second reason I did it was this: being cruel to you was the kindest thing I could do.

You won’t ever believe me, and there will be those who will call me a bitch, but as long as I was being kind to you, you kept coming around, having hope, trying to win me over, asking me to take you back. The kinder I was, the stronger you dug your heels in. In the end, the only way NOT to break your heart completely was to break it a little bit on purpose.

I’m sorry I didn’t do it sooner and I hurt you more than you needed to be hurt. Someday, I know, you’ll move past this and you’ll love again, and when you do, I hope she can love you back with as much passion as you feel for her. When that day comes—and it will come—I know you’ll understand and will forgive me.

Until then, I wish you only the best.

Should have left you sooner…

Melinda Mendez is a single mom of two, who isn’t a writer, but loves to tell stories. This story, though, is real. Maybe some day, she’ll blog more.

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2 Responses to “I Should Have Left You Sooner, by Melinda Mendez”

  1. sharkbytes says:

    So much pain and sorrow there. I’m glad those agonizing years are far behind me. But I really do understand the part about causing some pain is sometimes the most loving thing to do.

  2. sherrie miranda says:

    Melinda, I know this is like trying to find a pebble in the Grand Canyon, but by any chance did you live in New Orleans in the 80s? I am looking for a Melinda who I shared an apt. with and who I cared dearly for. Oddly enough, I never knew her last name.


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