To The Man In The Sarong

 Aricka Lewis

Aricka Lewis

Well, I bet you weren’t expecting that when you strolled up to me on the beach in your sarong and asked if my name was Penny. By the way, no one really believes you thought I was a friend of yours called Penny. But it makes for a good story. And a successful pick up line. You did well to come back and ask for my number. And I’ll be forever grateful that you did.

The last few months have been nothing short of a beautiful, crazy adventure. We’ve been through more in the last ten or so weeks than most couples go through in a year. Perhaps the intensity of our beginning hastened along our ending. Or perhaps it was only ever meant to be exactly what it was – a ‘staycation’, the holiday you take without actually going anywhere.

And yet we didn’t exactly stay still. Although I did think a ‘staycation’ meant you get to stay on vacation together for an extended period of time. Yet I understand why we’re not. I guess even staycations have their check out times.

You have your reasons, as do I, for why our staycation must and has come to an end. Although truth be told, I don’t want this to be the end. But then that’s the frustrating fact of life. Sometimes it doesn’t always work out the way you want. 

But back to those reasons of yours. I’ve been thinking about them and I’ve had a few thoughts of my own I wanted to share with you before you head off on your next adventure.

You say you’re lost; that you need time to figure your life out. I know it feels that way but trust me when I say, you’re exactly where you’re meant to be.

Life is made up of experiences, or dots. The dots might not make sense in this moment but each dot is an important part of a bigger picture. Just because the picture hasn’t come into frame or form yet, doesn’t mean it’s not taking shape.

You’re in a process of becoming, as we all are. Your life is an artwork in progress and art cannot be rushed. Keep following your heart, listen to your intuition and eventually the picture of your life will start to come into amazing, magnificent view. It will start to make sense. You’re not lost, you just can’t see the whole picture yet.

You will find that thing that’s uniquely yours in this life. You will find that thing that lifts your heart, stirs your soul, and excites your spirit.

You will find that thing that has you falling asleep at night with the anticipation of morning because you can’t wait to get back to doing what you know you were put on this earth to do. 

You will feel the rush of being on purpose and it will feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get it all done. Your life will be a magical manifestation of your wildest and grandest dreams. And you being you, you will squeeze every last drop of goodness and fun out of it. So, keep dreaming and dream big.

You say your heart isn’t ready for the love that’s on offer. I know. But one day it will be and you’ll be surprised by just how big and generous your heart is and how much love resides within it.

It resides there now by the way. I’ve felt it many times, despite what you say about your heart being closed.

And then one day, when you’re ready but least expect it, that heart will blow open and all that love will come pouring out and into the heart of another.

She will be one very lucky woman. Or man, but I sense that’s not your gig. And no, I’m not jealous. Not at all. Totally not jealous. Okay, maybe just a little.

You say you need to be alone right now; that you need space to figure yourself out. Now, I suspect our definitions of ‘alone’ might vary slightly but that’s okay. I hear you and I know what you mean.

What you’re telling me is that you’re not ready to make a commitment to another person while you’re still not sure of who you are or your place in the world. You need to be free to explore, to experiment, to find out who you are and what you want to do with your life. 

You can’t do that while carrying the responsibility of holding another person’s heart in your hands. I get it. Thank you for telling me all this now and not six months or a year down the track. Your honesty is testament to your character and the quality of the man that you are. 

It’s also evidence that my taste in men isn’t so bad after all. You could have taken the easy option and shirked away into the background but you didn’t.

You showed up, you spoke your truth, you did the right thing. The truth will set you free but it will also set the other person free too. Thank you for setting me free.

You asked me if I thought of you as a disappointment and joked about being a ‘dud.’ Let me just say this and listen hard: I’ve have never thought about you in anything close to these terms and nor would I. You are neither of these things so please don’t talk about yourself in this way ever again.

Sure, I’m disappointed. I’m sad things didn’t work out, but just because your heart isn’t ready to open and express itself fully doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with it. It’s simply not ripe yet. 

Just because a tomato is still green doesn’t mean it’s not going to grow into the juiciest, richest, best tomato you’ve ever tasted. By the way, that’s not an intended dig on your ranga heritage. Okay, maybe just a little dig.

During the writing of this letter, I came across a video of a man, Jay Shetty, talking about relationships. He said: “Relationships are not about compromises, they’re actually about empowering the other person to achieve their goals, helping them grow to become the individuals they deserve to become, that they can become. And therefore, it’s not about selfish motives, it’s not about what we want, relationships are not about us.”

To hold on to you would be to make this about me and what I want.

To hold onto you would not be helping you to grow into the individual you deserve to become and will become. 

To hold onto you would not be helping you to achieve your goals or live your highest potential.

To hold onto you would be to hold you back from the exciting experiences and adventures that await you.

You’ve told me that you’re feeling lost, your heart isn’t ready, and you need to be alone. To hold onto you in spite of these words would be to deny you the time and space to figure all this out for yourself.

This doesn’t mean I’m letting you go. I don’t know how to do that. Plus, I’ve tried and such attempts haven’t proved fruitless. So instead, I’m letting you be. I’m letting ‘us’ be. Or rather, not be.

You’ve always wondered how I could come to love you so easily and so quickly when we’ve only known each other for such a short amount of time.

Perhaps I sensed we only had a limited amount of time together and I didn’t want to waste a moment of it. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure. 

What I do know for certain though is when I first spotted you on the beach that morning, I wasn’t just admiring your delicious bronzed body wrapped in that sarong while fantasizing about what it would feel like to press our forearms together.

It was more than raw physical attraction. When my eyes found you, it was like finding the familiar after a very long time. But I didn’t just see your physicality, I saw your essence.

I felt it. I felt you.

This might explain the first twenty-four hours of our acquaintance. Or should I say re-acquaintance? After all, we both sensed this wasn’t the only lifetime in which our paths had crossed.

When we met at The Shop a few hours later that afternoon, we weren’t just getting to know each other over a few bottles of rosè, we were making up for lost time. And boy, did we make up for it. And then some.

There’s nothing I would change about our brief yet intense time together. Even the messiness in these last few weeks feels like it was somehow perfect and divinely orchestrated. 

Plus, most of us are generally better at beginnings than we are at endings.

Yet despite the ignored calls and snarky back-and-forth text exchanges of late, I say we’ve both faired fairly well. In fact, I would even go so far as to say we’re both better individuals as a result of each other.

For me, you’ve been a source of joy as well as the medicine I’ve needed to access a greater potential within myself. I’ve learnt more about myself in these last few months with you than in the last three years I’ve been single.

I guess this is why they say romantic relationships are more like spiritual assignments. They don’t always give you want you want but they always give you what you need.

With you I got both – what I wanted and needed. But ultimately you gave me what was necessary for me to grow into a better version of myself and the kind of person I want to be in the world. For that, I have only infinite gratitude.

There’s so much about you I’m going to miss in the days and months to come. That beautiful, perfect face of yours for starters. Not waking up to those lips, those eyes, that smile is gonna suck.

What am I saying? It does suck because you’ve already left.

I miss your kisses, your cuddles, your buttons, your texts during the day and the anytime laughs. And the sex. Fuck, I don’t even want to think about how much I miss that.

The truth is no one has kissed me more deeply, held me as tightly, or looked at me as closely and as lovingly as you have. Despite your doubts about your emotional capacity, you gave me an experience of connection that no one else has ever given me, nor will I ever forget. 

I’ve always said, right from the beginning, you were a gift. And you are. In which case, while it might not be a competition, I was right.

For now, I have no idea whether or not we’ll be each other’s lives moving forward. Part of me wants to believe that one day we might, just maybe, pick up our staycation from where we left off.

In a world of infinite possibilities, anything is possible and I’m not discounting any of those possibilities. But nor am I holding on to any either.

I have to move on too. What I do know for sure is that no matter what you do or where you go in life, you will always be in my heart and in my thoughts. And you will always be in a sarong. 

First published on Thought Catalog under the title 'I'm Disappointed Things Didn't Work Out, But I'm Glad We Dated'