‘’That’s the difference between you and I, I was only part of your world, but you, you were my entire world.’’ The anguish building up at the base of my throat overflowed as tears gushed. The anger I’d been building in the last twenty-four hours subsided, only to be replaced with ache; with heartbreak.
I’d felt this before, this grief. But this was contrasting in comparison, the emotions felt as I spoke those words, I could feel myself splintering as pieces fell off, bit by bit, and all you could do was stand there with this look of disbelief on your face.
I lost count of how many cigarette’s you lit up, whether it be standing beside me in that state of uncertainty, or next to the open glass door where the dogs stared at you with apprehension, unsure in their canine minds as to why there was so much strain flickering between you and I, like a lightbulb that had lost its capacity.
All I could do was sit there and stare at the floor, memories flooding my mind as I searched for where it could have gone wrong, and what errors I contrived, as if it were something I had done.
It would have taken only one word for me to stay, just one. But anytime I believed you were going to speak, silence overwhelmed you and more tears continued to run down my face.
‘’I can’t be here,’’ Words barely words as I spoke between the choke in my throat, afraid if I spoke too many I’d sob uncontrollably. What’s worse was the lack of remorse, the lack of warmth coming from you – playing it off as if you didn’t see it coming after all those times, I practically implored you to do better, to try.
I wondered if maybe you were content, just okay of our lop-sided life. Where you’d drink yourself into oblivion every night and I’d sit there contemplating ways to make you better – I couldn’t make you better, you wouldn’t let me in.
Moving out of the kitchen and into our bedroom I slumped onto the bed and put my head next to Winnifred’s, those chocolate cordial eyes looking up as her tail pondered whether or not to wag. Stroking the top of her head, all you had to do was ask me to stay and I would. I just needed one reason to stay, but the next word’s out of your mouth seized the sorrow. I could feel the animosity growing again….
Eyeing the stack of journals disfigured a top our headboard, recalling every second, every minute…every moment written down. Those battered unkempt, tiny black notebooks, no bigger than my hand. Mind winding as it recollected the cool breeze of fall beneath the silhouette of trees, lined like shadows against the overcast sky. Where you told me, how much you loved me.
But it’s fine. You stopped trying, the only difference is, I never gave up. I never stopped trying, not now, not then – all you had to do was ask me to stay. I thought you would when you saw me break the first time, or when I started packing a bag, and then again when I stepped out the door – even expected you to follow me down the road, but the further I drove, the more I doubted you.
It’s all very bizarre how quickly someone can break you. The misery you feel in the days and weeks to follow, spending hours conflicted, questioning if maybe you made the right decision – the right choice. Where the logic tells you yes, but the hurt and bereavement tell you no. Warfare between your thoughts spreading like wildfire amongst dry bush throughout the short days and enduring nights. Strung out from a lack of sleep, not realizing just how accustomed you were to sleeping next to someone.
Eventually, the damage is minor, the wound not so fresh and melancholy songs don’t make you lament. You question less, that starved curiosity of questioning goes to the back of your mind and you find yourself moving on. Denial to recognition you drift, mending as your life goes on. Realizing the last one thousand, eight-hundred and twenty-five days were not your own, but someone else’s. Someone unfit. But it’s better this way, a little lonelier, but better, knowing that I deserve to be chosen undoubtedly, over, and over.
I moved on, I’m sure you moved on too. But you had me at a point where I would’ve left the entire world behind for you; I don’t regret it, or how it ended. I remember what it was like to fall in love with you, it’s written in those unkempt, little black notebooks. Details about how nonsensical it was to fall in love with someone I’d only just met, and how quickly it all happened. Slowly, and then all at once I fell.
Three-hundred and sixty-five days since then, I mull over all of what was and what could have been. Those unrelenting what ifs humming, constant like the trill of a bumble bee. I wanted it to be you than, not to say I don’t think of you now – but the person I knew doesn’t exist anymore and the person I was doesn’t either. I should be grateful to you for showing me exactly what I want; we were, and then we weren’t. Three-hundred and sixty-five days since than, since that June, since I left you, and apparently who I was too.
Now I’m stuck between not wanting to feel that type of hurt again and needing to feel that type of love again. Finding myself writing letter’s I’ll never send and plunging in all over again; afraid to fall, but I might fly too. It’s been a year and unlike last June I’m indulging. I’ve seen four waterfalls and hiked forty trails. I’ve stayed up till sunrise and crashed at sunset with countless bonfires. Allowing myself to finally breathe; rejuvenate all the hurt. The restlessness finally subsiding and the euphoria staggering.
Not only did I go back to school, I wrote a book too. A book about the chemistry between people, about how feelings that often were, are feelings that never left, and how people find forever with the right person – at the wrong time. Anonymously, the book was entered into a contest and I won. The amount of twenty-thousand dollars was just enough to pay for school, but it made me wonder if it was you. It made me wonder if maybe you thought we found forever at the wrong time, or maybe, a little part of me hoped it was you. I had you, for a moment. You changed my life in wonderful ways, and though people change, memories don’t.
At least we’ll always have those.