I confessed our secrets to him, throwing them out into the cold wasteland of third party evaluation.

He listened patiently, and then he told me what everyone else always does. Stay strong. Don’t go there.

But how can I stay away from the flame of hope that what we have is true love?

There are two parts of me: the one who hopes and the one who knows better.

The one who hopes believes that all things are possible. That we can change. That we’re really meant for a lifetime of love and adventure. That a couple like us can indeed overcome the ghosts of the past.

The one who knows better understands that we’re either too late or too soon. It’s one or the other. Our timing never seems to be right, though we’ve tried.

The times we’ve tried to be in a relationship haven’t seemed to end in anything but hurt. And there’s only so much hurt a person’s heart should endure. (Not that it can’t endure it and overcome it, but it shouldn’t have to.) And I don’t wish that pattern of love on either of us.

The one who hopes and the one who knows better both know that we’re meant for so much more than that.

So, I don’t know why you bother.

Why is it that you continue to muddy the waters just as the dirt is settling and the water is becoming clear?

Doesn’t it seem to you that we’ve run our course; and that even being friendly is beyond what we’re capable?

Maybe, I’m wrong.

That’s what the one who hopes tells me. Her heart soars with your attention. And she’s ready to try again.

She’s the one who’s getting a consistent “thumbs down” from family and friends. Stay strong. Don’t got there. That’s what they say.

And since my heart has been consistently broken, stuck in this wretched pattern of love that we’ve formed with our awkward commitment, I am trying to listen.

After all, I know better.