My heart crumbles into a billion pieces as I hold a sobbing Sydney in my arms, rocking us back and forth in a heap on her dorm room floor. I have just done the very thing that I promised her I would never do; I’ve broken her heart. This is the last thing I want to do, and I hope that someday she will forgive me for this. I listen as she whispers no, and why? And all I can say is; she’ll realize eventually why this is the best thing for her. I want to be with her, forever like I said, but she has just begun her journey in life, there is so much she hasn’t experienced yet that I already have. I owe it to her to let her discover herself without me. If or when she has done that, then I hope that maybe we will find each other again. I’m taking a huge risk here, I could be saying goodbye to her forever right now, but something inside of me says that this isn’t true. We will find each other again, and then our forever can begin.
When her crying has stopped, I realize that she has fallen asleep, her small hands still clutching my tear-stained shirt. Carefully, I pick her up and lay her down upon her bed and pull a blanket over her. It takes every single ounce of strength I have not to wake her up and tell her it was all a bad dream, in which I didn’t just do what I did. She curls up into a little ball but doesn’t wake up.
I wander over to her desk and sit down and watch her sleep for a few minutes. She’s so sweet and so beautiful, and I love her more than anything in this world, what in the hell am I doing? I reach for a nearby notepad and a pen and write to her, my final goodbye. I push my hand forward, forcing the words onto the paper, and feel like the lowest form of life as I do. Am I a total coward, or am I doing her a favor? Only time will tell, I guess. As they say in all it’s cliché glory; if you love something, set it free, and if it comes back, it’s meant to be. I could not wish for anything more to be accurate at this moment. I leave my pathetic note by her bed and walk towards the door, before stopping to stare at her one last time.
“I’m so sorry,” I whisper to her before I open the door and walk out of her life.
After a crummy flight, I arrive back at my hotel in LA and head straight to my room. I decide not to tell the guys that I’m back yet. I had told them what I was doing and was met with mixed reactions. Kevin told me I was a fucking idiot, Jake agreed with Kevin but understood at the same time, and Harrison seemed annoyingly happy about my decision. If he thinks I’ve done this because I want to start living the single life, then he’s dead wrong. If things were different, I’d go out and buy a diamond ring right now, quit the band, and fly back to Sydney right now and make her my promise. But I can’t do that, not yet. She’s too young. She only thinks she’s prepared for forever.
I reach for my journal, something I started writing after my father died, something to help me process everything that came after his passing. I open it and pull out the letter he wrote to me.
My Dearest Son,
I can’t even begin to express how proud I am of the man you have become. I know our relationship has been far from close, until recently anyway, and I thank God every day at having this second chance with you. I want you to know that I have always been proud of you, and I’ve always known how profoundly smart and talented you are, even if I didn’t show it due to my ignorance and egotistical pride. All of those years I could have had with you, watching you grow into the man you are today, I only wish that I could say that I had something to do with that, but I know this isn’t the case. You’ve become who you are despite my absence from your life, and I’ll always wonder if that was a good thing or not because I’ll wonder how you would have turned out if I were the person you looked to for guidance every day. I don’t think I would have made a very good role model.
All I can do now is look after your future since I can no longer be in it. I know that wealth isn’t something you ever strived for; I know it wasn’t your goal in life, but it’s all I have to pass on to you now, so here it is. I know that I am doing the right thing in passing everything to you. I know it will be used for good. I know it will be used to nurture your future life so that you never have to struggle ever again. It will be used for a life that I wish I had with you, that I wish I could see play out.
My dream for you is this: You have a career you love but doesn’t take you from those who love you. A wife that loves you for you, not for what you can give her, and children that look up to you for guidance and unconditional love, for everything that I didn’t give to you. After meeting your girlfriend Sydney, I think that you may have found your future bride. I could feel the love she had for you and you for her.
I’ve enjoyed talking with Sydney for many hours about life and everything she wants out of it. I know she wants a career, a family, and great happiness, which I think you can give to her, as does she. My only fear is that she is but a child still. She hasn’t done enough in life to know what she truly wants out of it. However, I could be completely wrong about everything. What do I know, right? I met your mother in college and married her as soon as we graduated. She never regretted her decision to marry young, as far as I know. Anyway, I’m rambling on about things that don’t concern me. I suppose I just don’t want you two to fail. I’m rooting for you guys.
I hope what they say is true, and that I’ll now be able to watch over you from above, hopefully not from below. I know, terrible joke.
I love you, son. YOU are my greatest achievement and my most cherished treasure, and you always have been. I know there is so much more to say, but then this would become a novel, so I will just leave it there. Make love, make life, and do it to the fullest.
All my Love Forever,
I fold the piece of paper and carefully slide it back into my journal. I’ve read his words so many times; I could probably recite them by memory. His words are part of the reason I let her go; it’s something I’ve been battling with for almost a year. I couldn’t do it, and I’m still not sure I can. I want her to know that she is, exactly what I want. The memory of the expression on her face when I told her we were over will haunt me every single night. It’s like all her fears that she had about us were confirmed, like she never truly believed I could want her the way I do. How wrong she is. I hoped she had more faith in me. I guess I also hoped that she would have fought harder, but she just let me go. I think I’ve made a terrible mistake, but I have to let this happen.