Sometimes I Wonder What Could Have Been

It's really funny how the brain can protect a person for so many years.
Put a memory away in a box in the back of my mind,
so I don't think about it. But the memories are all back there. Boxed up.
Dusty and forgotten about.
Until I pull them out. And for some reason,
I torture myself by pulling out
only the most painful memories.

I have not pulled your box out in so long. I briefly think about you all the time. Just a little. Not enough to hurt me.
I remember being really happy when I knew you.
Maybe that is why this poem is so goddamn hard to write.
I've restarted it like eighteen times.

We were not in love, you and I. But I think we could have been.
Back then, I would have said yes to absolutely anything you wanted.
You were really shy though, so I didn't actually find out
you would have said yes to me too until yesterday. Five years too late.
Figures right?

I still have it you know. The teddy bear you drew for me in perfect detail.
I keep him hanging up where I can see him.
Every day.
You are an artist, my dear.
And I remember being so excited
when you asked me if I would like you to draw me something.
I answered. Teddy bear. You looked at me kind of weird.
But a teddy bear is the symbol of childhood innocence,
which you still had.
Mine had been stolen from me years prior,
but yours never had, and you didn't know that about me.

Maybe that's why I was so drawn to you.
You reminded me of feeling safe.
Darkness cannot exist without light, and you were the light
my darkness always needed.
And you never once looked at me like I was broken.
But that's probably why I never said
what was on my mind. Or told you how much I thought of you.
I would have dragged you down,
I wanted better for you.

There was so much I could have, should have said.
I think I was just afraid.
Of what, I'm not sure.
Afraid that someone might actually see me?
Or that I was in deeper than you could be?
Or that you were too good for me.

And you were. Way too good for me.
I bet you still are.
And I think,
that is the part that breaks my heart the most.