"I'm sorry" isn't just about our inevitable breakup with me coming back to the States from Ukraine, it was much deeper than that. It was about feeling guilty for putting him through so much pain when leaving. It was about me not answering his calls or messages, because I couldn't think of a proper way to communicate that I was in pain too. It was about him being in love with me, and me just loving him, and wishing I was in love. It was about what he kept bottled up inside of himself afterwards, the things that he had done, the way my name became taboo.
Our relationship wasn't perfect, but who's is. He was my best friend there, and the only person I could talk to without scrutiny. We would walk all over town every night, at the earliest getting home at 3AM. He let me bruise his hand when I had to have blood drawn, and was there for my first tattoo (1 hour 20 minutes). He put aloe vera on me when I got a first degree burn on my butt from tanning on the beach. He was the first person to get me to go skinny dipping in 30 degree F weather in the Black Sea. I was the one he'd shave for twice a day, just so that I wouldn't have stubble burn. His family welcomed me, and made me feel safe and loved. I showed them how to make cactus salsa (I did steal the cactus from a bitchy neighbor), pizza, and pancakes.
Even still it was like oil and water, I was living in a world different from my own that he didn't understand. I missed home-the racial diversity, English, my pets, my brother, my friends, the beach, everything that made California steal my heart.
Though we both have moved on, I finally understand what people say, when he said, "first love will never be forgotten". Those memories will be with us till the end, no matter where our life leads us.