Serendipity

Was I born a masochist or did society make me this way?

Tag: loss

142

It scares me that everything I write is for you. Even the truths I stole from other people, the ones that don’t recognise their own stories, every word was meant for your eyes only. I envision how you’d read them, your harsh yet accurate pronunciation, and what you might learn. I am still trying to tell you about us, even when you don’t want to listen anymore. I am still trying to reach you from this side of the river, because I forgot how to swim. I thought holding onto you would stop me from drowning, but you cut me loose when we began to sink faster. I am stuck here on this side of the river, trying to build bridges with a severed tongue and scattered words. I have disappeared from your thoughts completely and now the memories are fading too, taking the best bits of me with them, the bits that no one knew.

I can’t stop watching stand up comedy, filling up every second with empty laughs to pretend I still know how to be happy. I smile at every line, every lie, over and over, like none of it matters, none of it hurts. I keep the sharpest knife in the top drawer, and it talks to me sometimes, like an old friend. Sometimes it whispers, like it knows a secret. Sometimes it’s more tempting than taking another drink, but the scars mock me when history repeats itself, and there’s no escaping.

I keep waiting to be hit by a bus or maybe something will fall from the sky and put me out of my misery. I stopped looking when I cross the road in case I cheat death by accident and win more time to waste. I fell over in the shower when I closed my eyes and saw your face, your hands were wrapped around my throat, choking the last breath out of my lungs so I could find peace.

I threw your favourite mug at our kitchen floor and watched it crumble to pieces like our lives, lives that we were no longer sharing. I couldn’t break your heart as well as your broke mine so I peeled off your mask and laughed at the voices you had been hiding. I hated her with more passion than hot summer nights, rolling around on the grass with a stranger and kissing them on the mouth. I wanted you to see the damage so I left all the remains as they were, bloody and untidy, I’m not sure which is worse. It’s been four months but I think our ghosts still linger in that apartment, speaking softly of forgotten promises and a better life you had promised. I left you one last message, telling you to come and find me before all you discover is a corpse.

107

I want to find the tired looking boy who opened his door one evening and was caught off guard by my sleeping attire. I want to feel his arms around me, awkwardly seeking the safest position to hold a stranger closely as such unusual circumstances demanded. I want to tell him that night was as close to perfect as a mistake could be.

I want to hold him accountable, for the gentle way he kissed me. If he had done it with more urgency and less naturally perhaps I’d remember how my clothes fell to the floor. There’s no time to think when your legs are wrapped around someone’s neck, everything is driven by instinct. I thought he was no different from the others, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. I should have known, I should have run.

I want to help him remember who he might’ve been, if she hadn’t interrupted so rudely. If we could take back every kiss, every touch, would we feel less lonely? Nothing truly compares to the heartache one feels for a broken dream. If we could alter the way it all happened so fast, would we avoid the beginning? Or would we repeat the same mistakes just to experience the intoxicating pain of loving too heavily?

I want to show up at his apartment in the evening with a bottle of whiskey, wearing my oversized coat with nothing underneath. I want to leave in the morning with his dignity in my purse, knowing he won’t even miss it because he was fully reimbursed. I want to tell him I wrote a note saying “I love you” but I threw it in the trash before I left because I thought it meant too little. It felt too transparent, and he deserved better than that.

I want to release our anger in the most primal fashion, and leave marks on each other that others will question. Every false promise, every hurtful word we’ve thrown during the violence deserves an inch of broken skin, till all the debt is repaid in bloody vengeance. I want to soak my wounds in salted waters and drown myself in his forgiveness.

I want to hate this monster we created through mutual carelessness, but no one will teach me how to hate something composed of love and memories. I want to make sense of how this ending came to be, but I’m grasping at straws and he’s no longer with me. I want to stop questioning my own questions only to arrive at nothing.

I want to run into him ten years later in the streets of Paris with a child in my arms and a smile on my lips. He’ll buy me a coffee and tell me he missed me. I’ll laugh because the years have taught me there is no real difference between missing someone and loving them. If only I could laugh at us now, for our fatal misunderstanding of words spoken incorrectly.

101

You have to walk the road to know how long it is. You have to be lonely to realise how much you miss someone. You have to lose them to realise how much they meant to you. Life is bittersweet like that. You can give up everything, but don’t give up on happiness. You can lose everything, but don’t lose your smile. You can be uncertain, indecisive, laugh it off and start over. Laugh, and I’ll be listening.

I had to say no to your childish fantasy, because life is too unpredictable, and you’ll learn the hard way that you can’t have everything. The places we’ve seen, the roads we’ve travelled together, the view, the memories, those matter the most, but they can’t set you free. Sometimes you have to walk away to realise that mistakes make you stronger, distance makes you fonder, and pain wakes you up. Take that step, and you’ll find that happiness is just around the corner.

We hate letting go, even when we know the damage is beyond repair. I always thought the best days with you would last forever, and there was no need for us to ever be apart. That was my selfish fantasy. But we weren’t strong enough. Or maybe we didn’t really love each other. Maybe we just liked the idea of being in love.

I still cry sometimes, but that’s just part of the process. I’ll try to remember even in the worst moments, how I have been blessed. How your kisses made my scars fade and kept the demons at bay, long enough for me to remember how to fight again. How I fell in love with the boy that made me feel safe.

You say I feel more deeply than others. I hurt more deeply too, because I believe life’s too short to waste, to run away from what makes us human. I love recklessly, and I don’t regret it, because no one is perfect. I’ve tripped, I’ve fallen, I’ve been pushed by those I trust, but I still get up, and each time I walk steadier than the last.

Silence makes everything clearer. Words have run out of meaning, they can’t save us anymore. So I’ll listen to what you didn’t say, and I hope you hear me too. I’ll be okay. I’ll make it without you. I never needed you, and now I don’t want you either. You’ll never have another chance to hurt me again. The rose will die before you have a chance to make things right. Life is inconvenient like that.

I’ve carved my own path, and I’ll survive even if I have to crawl. This is not the end to my story, you are not my final chapter. In too many ways, I am ordinary. An ordinary girl living an ordinary life, if I hadn’t knocked on your door you wouldn’t have looked twice. But the way I loved you was extraordinary, and that ought to be enough. I thought we’d end in fire, but you’ve turned into ice. I know how ice can burn when you hold on… so I’m letting go.

92

It begins first thing in the morning. Right before you open your eyes, before you can be considered awake, before you have a chance to organise and collect your thoughts, they escape. Before you can acknowledge that you’re conscious, it hits you right in the chest, the heaviness, and you’re reminded of the loss all over again. She’s not there anymore.

You pull the blankets up and hug the pillow a little closer, your grip so tight it digs into your own skin, leaving fingernail marks that wake you up. But at least you’re not thinking about her.

You’re awake now, but you pretend you’re not. There’s no need to hurry, you don’t need to kiss her good morning now. Close your eyes, breathe slowly. If you don’t think about her, maybe it won’t hurt so much.

By the time you finally get up, half the day has passed. You don’t really care. You’re still not thinking about her.

Take a shower and make it scalding hot. Feel the heat on your blushing skin, turning it raw, now the pain has substance. Step out, wipe the fog off the mirror, don’t think about the messages she used to draw for you. The cold air creeps through your towel and you hug yourself. Don’t think about how she used to rush out to hug you, leaving water marks all over your clothes because she couldn’t wait to hold you again. Don’t think about that.

Go to work, don’t think about her, just get through the day. Make sure you smile back, or they might think something’s wrong. Then you’d have to explain. You couldn’t explain. You wouldn’t know where to start.

Say good night to the staff. Remember to smile again. Walk home alone, feel the wind blowing your hair back, and don’t think about how she used to clutch your jacket when she was cold. Don’t think about the times you reluctantly held her hand and walked her home. You were never proud to be with her, you never wanted others to know, so don’t think about it now. Look closer at the people walking past, try to guess if they’re lonelier than you are. Don’t think about how lonely she is, she doesn’t matter.

Get home, turn on the lights. The apartment looks the same as you left it, but you know it’s different now. She’s gone, and she’s left behind all this space. You never noticed how much space she took up. Now you have nothing to fill in the gaps; how inconsiderate of her. No one had ever warned you that emptiness could be so suffocating.

Put on some music. No, not her music. Something different, something she wouldn’t listen to. Something that doesn’t make you think about her. Not something she hates either, because then you’d picture her pouting and complaining, waving her tiny, ineffectual fists at you. But every song is about her. Every word was written for her. Turn off the music, don’t think about her.

Sit down at your desk. Don’t think about how she used to sit next to you. How she rested her legs on you, how she’d reach over to play with your hair. Don’t think about how well she understood you, how she kissed you for no other reason than to show you she was there. You thought it was insecurity, that she was worried you’d stop loving her if she didn’t remind you to, but now you suspect she simply didn’t want you to ever forget that she cared. You remember too clearly the way she kissed you, like she’d do it for the rest of your lives, but now she’ll never do it again. So don’t think about that.

Go to your bed. It’s all yours now, all that space, all for you. Do you really need that much space? Perhaps you could sleep in the swastika position. Rest your head on the pillow she got for you, but don’t think about her. Don’t think about how she’d lie on your chest and count your heartbeat. How she wrapped her legs around you like you needed to be closer even when you were already touching. Don’t think about the smell of her hair, the gentle pressure of her touch, how she’d bite your ear to get your attention, how she made you laugh. Don’t think about her. 

Start drifting to sleep. Still not thinking about her. Tomorrow you won’t think about her either. Don’t worry, she’s not thinking about you too.