The truth is, once you fall in love with a person, you never give up on loving them. Maybe your love never finds the courage to be expressed, maybe it was expressed but never reciprocated or maybe it was reciprocated and still didn't make through. Or all of the above at different times. So your love stays, right there in your heart, never giving up.
Some days you cry until your ribs shake like tectonic plates saying it's okay. Other days, you convince yourself that you deserve better. Years pass and time builds a fortress around that chunk of your heart. Love ferments into a sour disdain while butterflies drown in a reluctant resentment. You take charge and distribute yourself in other relationships, that form bricks of your fortress. And you forget it for a while. But then somewhere, you hear their favorite melody in a restaurant. You think of their lame jokes on an uneventful bus ride through the lanes near your old house. In a crowd of strangers, their perfume flits through your nostrils and then boom, all your insides are dry and withered leaves of the forest, rustling to strike fire in themselves.
The cycles of love and lack continue. Regret treads behind those cycles. Should I have held on for a little longer? Would it have made all the difference? You never know.
You believe in a saying that time heals all wounds but you often wonder if it is possible to heal wounds that gape open with mere thoughts. The thoughts that creep up like a bougainvillea over your fortress and bloom right outside the window of your heart.
How long does it take? Six months, two years, a lifetime? I don't know.
But if I were you, I'd let the bougainvillea grow, slowly and certainly. Let them grow into a dense forest of acceptance that forgets there was a fortress in the first place. Maybe you'll never let go, but I promise, one day, all of your heart will bloom like all of the bougainvillea and you will be fine.