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"How To Stay Friends With an Ex"

Published:
December 14, 2023
June 26, 2023
Read the poem "How to Stay Friends With an Ex".

It won’t work if he was the kind of boyfriend
who never wanted to be friends in the first place;
Kissed you mid-sentence on the cold platform,
unaware you were trying to tell him something that might
have made a difference before the last train arrived.

There are, indeed, some hopeless cases.

It’s good if you had something to lose before the gamble,
and that thought kept you up at night, wondering;
If you hesitated before your first kiss, aware of the stakes,
and Googled How to stay friends with an ex
one lonely morning in the library after it all went wrong.

This journey requires tenacity; it will require humility.

You’ll never forget the evening you discovered you had
nothing left to say to each other. Just weeks before
the glint of frost on a leaf seemed noteworthy,
a patch of blue sky made him think of you and smile;
Now you know how silence between two people can ache.

Time will soften all memories, even that one.

It may be true that you taught him to cook,
a skill that was largely to be enjoyed by other women,
but you must not think of this as time or effort wasted.
Occasionally you will visit and enjoy
fluffy mashed potatoes here, perfectly-seasoned chicken there;

You will let him pretend he didn’t learn it all from you.

One day, years from now, you’ll look at him with affection,
notice the grey in his hair, and in yours, see the lines
around your mouths that show how much you’ve lived
since the kiss that changed everything and changed nothing.
You’ll realise how much you’ve weathered, and feel proud;

There’s more than one way to grow old together.

Creators:
Sophie Caldecott
Published:
December 14, 2023
June 26, 2023
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