Of course the term “unrequited lover” is misleading because “lover” implies half of a partnership, one side of a couple, but the real truth is something the universe has long been keeping secret: if you love unrequited, you love just the same as requited lovers do. You love deeply and without end; you love like a whisper that tries to stifle itself before turning into a scream.
So maybe you write letters that will never be sent, or you serenade the moon instead of singing to the one person whose window is always closed. Maybe your palm lines ache with suspense at the thought of joining the palm lines of someone else’s hand in secret. Or maybe you even pray for a meteor to crash into earth and automatically reverse each magnetic pole so that every single human being’s position on love is reversed as well, until the one person you care for with every fiber of your flesh and blood begins to love you back.
But you have to release certain people. You have to accept that this giant magnetic reversal will never happen, nor will a first date or even a first hand-holding. You have to let go of the parts of these people that you’re clenching with your fists. That doesn’t mean you have to destroy those parts, but you do have to let them go.
Start with playing catch. Throw the ball as far as you can and as hard as you can into the forest and wait for the forest to throw it back. When it doesn’t, retrieve the ball.
Throw it again and again until the forest finally lobs it back into your waiting arms.
Which it never will.
This is what you have to accept- that the person who has turned you into a tornado of wanting and messy feelings is never going to clean those feelings up. They’re never going to catch your feelings and then throw their own feelings back at you.
But allow yourself one last day of love. Love as complicated and intensely as you are able. Howl it from the rooftops like a wolf at the moon, stare at their photograph until your eyeballs burn, walk mile upon mile to their house and memorize every rafter and shingle, every splinter of wood; write out every word you’ve ever wanted to say to them until your hands cramp and blister. Love. Love without worry and love without embarrassment. Love like silence loves the space it occupies.
Then release that love the next morning. Punch the wall until your fists are bloody, throw plates against the ceiling, run through the very forest you played catch in, (or rather throw and never come back), until your lungs feel lit with flame. Go to an abandoned parking lot and stomp on all the leftover boards and two-by-fours; tear out chunks of crumbling siding with your bare hands.
And do it all with this person’s name and face running through your mind, until every act of destruction becomes linked with them. Because they have been slowly destroying you too, from the inside out.
Then sleep. Sleep. Sleep fully and restfully in a bed that will never house the person you once loved.
And when you awake in the morning, welcome the new you, who has more room in their heart than ever before. Room for another occupant who will, in turn, allow you to live inside their own.