Casting my thoughts so far back to a time before I knew you and your influence is a feeling I’ve not yet mastered. In the years we were together, I became someone else. You defined part of who I am today, both for better and for worse. Even now I sometimes still take a peek at your latest online playlists. You inspired me to push myself to where I am today. You proved to me my naked body can actually do some pretty great things and wasn’t just good for purposes of self-deprecation. But you also triggered my trust issues after you cheated on me. Or put me off becoming too intimate for fear I’ll be trod on and spoken to like dirt, flung into yet another unnecessary fit of despair to be pulled back into loving arms a few days later.

We were messy. Our relationship was kind of like that bit of chewing gum stuck to the sole of the your shoe. Being stuck together caused a constant falter in our strides. Neither of us could explore our sexualities or be who we truly wanted to be. But whenever we pulled apart the sticky mass of our crumbling mess, the loss of part of me threw my stride so much I felt crippled without it. Both of us tugged frantically at the ever thinning fibre to grasp some essence of what had brought us so close so long ago.

When the final strand of mess finally pulled away, I retreated as quickly as I could. You took that as malicious. But it was never intended like that. I needed to be myself and be free of how poisonous we had become to each other. I had to put myself first after being so much a part of someone else for so many years. It didn’t mean I stopped loving you as a person.

Yes, the romance had died. The trust was gone. But we grew up together; even if my own growth was mainly around the waistline. The last time I saw you I couldn’t speak a single word to you. I’d changed so much, learnt so much about myself and stumbled upon so much more that needed to be worked on. The person I am now is separated from the child I used to be by a vast void that couldn’t be overcome or explained in a few simple sentences in an awkwardly public setting. But somewhere in my mind, the scrawny teenager in a duffle coat with Groucho Marx eyebrows will always love the figure in his increasingly tatty Barbour and awkwardly large shoes. These silhouettes of the past will always be holding their dryskinned hands together in my mind.

To others our relationship was a darkened lump upon my once-confident side, now restored. Which a lot of the time it was. But I saw underneath the grime collected on the outside. To me the pure innocence of someone immensely loving beneath it was hidden by trouble always seemed to come through. I’d wish I’d seen my tendency to cling to and rose tint everything earlier, but dragging things so far made it easier for both of us to move on.

Many who know how you treated me would wish you ill. Of all of them, I should be the first. But I’ve learnt to forgive. I’m not sure if we’ll ever see or speak to each other again, but my door is always open to a friend I would willingly welcome. I wish you and your new partner all the happiness a feeble arts student can. As the song goes, ‘wherever you are, I hope you’re singing now.’ I hope you’ve found what you missed out with me so many years ago. And I hope the same happens to me soon.