I’m learning to walk without you—and except for that night through the streets of New York—I technically always have. You were consistently hundreds of miles away, but you never failed to whisper in my ear and laugh with me wherever we were going.

You remain this phantom I’ve hosted for months—appearing on sidewalks as cars pass playing our songs. The hardest part is knowing that you’re just as close as you have always been; a movement to the device that never leaves my side, and yet, everything has changed so that you’re not.

The thing is, I walk without you when I can. There’s someone new in my ear and often by my side. Someone who listens and retorts and makes me smile. Someone who is beautiful. So why are you the one I write about in a post I’ll never send?

I wonder how you are doing in your world without me. If there’s someone you go to when you need love. Someone who looks at you as I had, baffled that a human like you exists. Someone worth the sacrifice. And even if he is in your ear, here I am, wondering if I am the phantom you still walk with.

I’ve been learning to let go all of my life. It was often the involuntary option for me, so as I grew up and with more freedom I also grew to like holding on to those in my life. Until you, I forgot what it was like to be forced out.

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