“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

We were living a romantic comedy – a young couple in love in Manhattan.
Mornings in the park with chocolate croissants, The New York Times in print, sporadic sirens and street performers.
Walks to the bookstore with linked arms and fake British accents.

At HBS, I called him my Martner (male partner), a portmanteau he hated but a role he was proud to fill.
Shy, I struggled to raise my hand in class; he repeatedly told me to push myself, to just walk down the stairs.

Someday he’d get me one of those unconventional engagement rings with colored stones instead of a diamond.
We’d move to Brooklyn and bike to work. I’d insist he wear a helmet; he’d still refuse.

Things change.
He had doubts about us; I had more.
Though I wanted to want that life with him.
Sitting cross-legged on our Moroccan hostel’s rooftop, we agreed.
We weren’t right for each other.

Now he’s gone. But he’s not dead. He’s just biking around Brooklyn somewhere eating croissants.
His shaving cream is still in my shower, mantra still in my head: just walk down the stairs.

The most important people of our lives are often no longer in our lives.
Grandparents, old friends, roommates, too.
They die, drift, break our hearts, or we break theirs.
But they’re with us, ‘cause they shaped us.
Love does that; I’ll continue to let it.

— Marissa Kaplan