Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UC Berkeley chapter.

You will forever be my Atlantis. A beautiful, lost world that I so desperately hope to rediscover. A beautiful, lost world that I so desperately hope existed at all. Like a crazed conspiracy theorist, I ravaged through mounds of historical evidence, searching for a shred of proof to confirm that this fantastical idea of you does not just exist within the confines of my skull. Upon discovering a blurred photograph of us, capturing a slight glimmer in your eye, I concluded that this glimmer must have been generated by my presence. Upon discovering a video containing muffled sounds of your affection, I concluded that, however faint the sounds, the feelings behind them must have been strong. In my eyes, I had met the burden of proof; my idea of you was not and is not some figment of my imagination. Rather, the “you” who continuously haunts my dreams, interrupts my stream of consciousness, and invades my every waking moment, truly exists.

Once sufficiently convinced of your existence, I began looking for you everywhere. I searched in tattoos covering arms that did not belong to you, in cologne that smelled nearly as sweet as yours, in similarly broad smiles that flashed teeth with far less British charm. However, as days passed, the fanatic conviction I held regarding your existence slowly faded as I was re-exposed to common sense and reality, snuffed out almost entirely by my utter lack of ability to re-discover the you that I so firmly believed to be real. The supposedly unshakable evidence I had compiled was called into question due to my love-struck biases. Of course, that glimmer in your eye should realistically be reduced to nothing more than a reflection of the camera flash. Of course, the faintness of your voice in that recording could very well mirror the strength of your affections. Of course, those first-hand accounts could have been swayed by the interviewer’s narrative. Logically, I knew the “you” I imagined never truly existed, thus, I would never be able to find this “you”. But one cannot just abandon such strong convictions, so I kept looking anyway. I scrambled to assemble some palpable, though Frankenstein, version of you, made up of incongruous bits of others, glued together by an ever-fading memory of the brief time we spent together. 

Was this really all I had left? Was this all you ever were? No, it could not be true.

Our paths could not have been more distant, yet they crossed, intertwined, and became connected anyway. My god, this path was beautiful. Lined with roses, paved with gold, devoid of any trail markers to guide me. I floated down it, blissfully ignorant to the idea that you might have been simply walking by my side, your emotions not nearly strong enough to lift your feet from the pavement. Pavement which may not have appeared gilded at all to you. In all fairness, this idea really was unrealistic at the time and, in many ways, it still is. Against all odds, our paths were welded together by, I don’t know, by something greater than both of us. Clearly, this was not some accident, thus you must have recognized the extraordinary nature of our connection too.

As I attempted to reconstruct this connection with another, I became convinced once again that it could not have only existed within me.  If it was just a mirage of the mind, why could the same mind which tricked me in the first place not trick me again with someone else? If it was in fact only a figment of my imagination, why could I now not produce an exact replica? I have tried to do so over and over again, aching for those rapturous sensations which accompanied our connection to consume me just once more. But, with every attempt, there always seems to be something missing. The missing factor is you. The way you held me, the way you spoke to me, the way you felt for me. Had I simply fabricated all of this, I should have no trouble fabricating it once again. But I cannot. I cannot fully recreate those feelings without you. I can only remember them, but a memory can never fully capture the intensity of such things. My inability to recapture those emotions is a great relief. Because we can no longer exist, I at least know that we truly existed in the first place.

The pain which strikes me each time you enter my thoughts confirms the reality of our connection, because pain this intense must be caused by the loss of something true. Do you feel this pain? I hope you do, but you don’t. Your heart is exponentially more experienced than mine; it has been pounding for years longer. Its strings have doubtlessly been more complexly entangled with another’s, creating a tapestry I could have never weaved. Its rhythm has doubtlessly synced more melodically with another’s, creating a song I only wish I knew the words to. 

Thus, my memory must barely make it skip a beat. If you even care to remember me at all. I can’t stop remembering you. I don’t want to stop remembering you, even if your feelings towards me were disingenuous, even if you have already forgotten me, even if every thought of you is accompanied by a tidal wave of pain. Over and over again, I will gladly let this pain strike me down and nearly drown me, because this pain is the only real thing I have left of you. Once the pain subsides, then you will be lost to me forever. You were always destined to be lost, to transform into nothing more than an anecdote of my youth. But you have not metamorphosed into just a story to be told quite yet.

Did you, didn’t you, were you, weren’t you? My incessant need to come to a conclusion on how you felt about me has sent me chasing my proverbial tail in circles, leaving me with nothing but pages of incoherent ramblings with no semblance of resolution. Back and forth, every paragraph I write about how you loved me is inevitably followed by one about how you did not. As more time passes since I last felt your lips against mine, I am becoming less convinced that I will ever discover the truth about us. With each day that passes, my fingers drag more slowly across this keyboard. Have I really felt and said everything there is to say about you? 

I am sorry for abandoning you. It’s been months since I’ve given you any real attention. Your posts no longer trigger this intense sense of longing, no matter how dazzling you look, no matter how many girls are by your side. Instead of longing or jealousy, I feel a surge of pride. Like a hunter with a boar’s head above his fire, your posts serve as a reminder of my feminine prowess. Look what I was able to accomplish, I’ll say to whoever will listen, with my witty banter and calculated touches. Look at the models he hangs out with, I’ll think to myself, I once occupied their place, pressed against his body in a dark club. You are no longer an object of desire, but validation of my own desirability. Because I can intellectualize my current feelings towards you and am no longer immobilized by pangs of pleasure and pain, I want to believe that I’m just over you. However, this was no traditional heartbreak, so I think you deserve a little more consideration. Not for your sake, but for mine. 

My lustful yearnings clouded my ability to understand why I was so captivated by you, a 27-year-old borderline alcoholic with a brown tooth who I only knew for three days. Yes, you have tattoos, a British accent, and enough sexual magnetism to charm the habit of a nun, but never before has anyone consumed my thoughts so pervasively for such a long time. It is only after the winds of time swept my salacious feelings aside that I was able to see clearly the true nature of my obsession. 

We were my wildest fantasy. In Lisbon, I had no fear. No fear of rejection, no fear of judgment, no fear at all. On that beach, where our naked bodies melted into each other under my black coat, it felt as though all of my darkness disappeared to make room for your light. Unencumbered by all the stressors and anxieties of the real world, I was able to give myself to you completely. Lubricated by gallons of Jagerbombs and Sangria (I really wish I was kidding about that combo), thoughts and feelings slipped out of my mouth and into your receptive ears. That freedom mixed with that sensation of oneness with another person combined with, well, how hot you are, all exacerbated by the exhilaration of being abroad created a Molotov cocktail of love and lust so volatile that it could have burned a nation to the ground. I called you my Atlantis before I ever fully understood what that meant. You, well we, were this grand, utopian ideal that I had created in my mind before I had even met you. 

You visited me in a dream last night for the first time in months. You came to California and we re-lived all of our wild memories together, but we did not recreate them. You didn’t drink, your focus did not wander from me once, our conversations never stalled. Instead of attempting to decode each other’s sentences with EDM blaring in the background, we spoke softly, both in volume and in subject matter, of our families and of our futures, sitting on a rock, overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge. You begged me to come to London over summer, telling me to find an internship there so I can chase my dreams with you by my side. Apparently, my unconscious self has a liking for reproducing cheesy rom coms. In any case, it was one of those dreams that, when my alarm interrupted it, I wanted to throw my phone out the window.

This dream was different from my previous ones starring you, or rather, us. The man in it walked like you, talked like you, and dressed like you, but it was not you. This man embodied everything I am currently yearning for. You have all the superficial stuff, stuff that I have already discussed ad nauseam so I won’t go on another horny rant about your appearance, and with a few, well, a lot of personality tweaks, I could easily transform you into my new dream man. THIS showed me what you are and what you always were. You are a blank canvas onto which I can project everything I want. My desires cannot be incompatible with how you actually are because I know little to nothing about you. 

Before, I wanted lustful, untamed passion, so I was content simply replaying my memories from Lisbon. Now, I need more. I need security, connection, and commitment. So, rather than searching for someone who can actually give me all those things, I simply produce my own two person play, with us as the stars.  

Gina Leaman

UC Berkeley '25

Gina Leaman is a sophomore at UC Berkeley who is majoring in Media Studies and minoring in English. In her free time, she enjoys reading, lifting, and listening to music.