It was amazing. I woke up tired and my body felt like lead and I couldn’t help but feel as though I could pass out at any given moment, but I felt great.
I thought of you on the entirety of the ride to work, and didn’t burst into tears. I was welcomed into my Facebook account by a message you’d left about something mundane and all I did was smile, because it was you.
I think I laughed for real today, and I feel like I’m finally regaining a semblance of the me that was lost when I let myself be consumed by what I felt for you so completely.
But it terrifies me, thinking that I’m the way that I am now because of something only a few millimeters in size. It’s terrifying to think that I can breathe again, but only because of some other substance.
It’s terrifying to think that I’ll always need something to replace you, something like alcohol, or cigarettes, or drugs.
I decided to start wishing on sticks again, and I flipped that bad boy in its box and decided that I knew what I would be wishing for. All the wishes I’d ever made on wish sticks had always been granted, and I knew that this one would too. But an acquaintance bummed a stick and she took my only wish stick, and I realized I couldn’t rely on wishes anymore.
I’m a little afraid that I’m running out of hope again. Hope, sigh, it’s so fleeting. One moment you know exactly what it is to look forward to in the future, and the next you realize there’s nothing out there. I’m afraid of growing too dependent on these pills, like I’d grown dependent on you, and in your perceived permanence in my life, but I guess it’s all I have right now.
I suppose everybody has different ways of coping. A friend of mine seems to have gone through a loss as well, and you wouldn’t even know just from looking at her. She doesn’t have the bags under her eyes that I do, or the noticeably heavy heart. She works well, and her voice doesn’t crack and her tongue doesn’t refuse to cooperate. I wonder if she still feels his hand in hers, or his arm around her shoulders.
I really wish you were here right now. There’s so much I need to tell you.
Mostly I want to tell you about this prick from work.
He found out about the tragedy that befell us and swooped in like a vulture discovering a fresh carcass. The day before I said goodbye to that white house on the corner, he said goodbye to the supposed love of my life, and now it seems like he’s under the delusion that I can help heal him.
I wish he’d understand that I can barely even keep myself afloat, let alone save him from drowning.
We rode together on the way home today and he told me all the stories about all the girls who’d broken his heart. The whole time, I was thinking of you, and how I saw myself in the girls who’d driven him crazy, and I was thankful, because I saw what could’ve happened to you—to us—if we hadn’t walked away from this when we had.
It was innocent enough, and I told him the very things I’m sure I would’ve told you, or myself, five years into the future of a parallel universe where we’d gone against all reason and logic and decided to stay together.
“She just wasn’t happy with you,” “Maybe she was unhappy, and she wasn’t content, but she was so afraid of being alone, she couldn’t leave.” “I’m sorry. Maybe she was just looking for someone--anyone—not necessarily you.”
It felt like I was telling my story, like I knew what was going through her head because these were the same things going through mine.
Before he left, he put his hand on my knee and thanked me, withdrew his hand and paused. Then he put his hand on my knee again and said he’d see me tonight, before getting off at his stop.
Right after, I considered never coming back to work again.
I wish I could text you and tell you what happened, but this setup forbids me. I know I have to deal with this on my own, or at least, without you, but it’s tough not to feel helpless.
Months ago, I probably would have been flattered, to have someone showering me with so much attention and so many compliments (“You’re so smart, you blow me away sometimes”; “You’re a sweet sister, and a good daughter”), but it’s just too soon. And like I’d told a very good friend, if anybody should come after you, they’re going to have to be pretty damn amazing, and right now, I don’t think anybody could be more amazing than you were.
I guess my friend was right. After the pain and the bitterness of the goodbye, all that you’ll be left with are memories of the good stuff. I think back to the months we’d spent together and just remember you with your puffy hair and your silly eyebrow piercing and your Julio moustache, and how we’d laughed so loud I felt like your neighbors would come knocking. I just remember the spontaneous bus rides and the times you’d taken me to work even though you had to get up early the next day. I just remember the smile on your face when you came home from work and I’d run up to meet you at the door, and we’d hug and kiss like we’d been separated for weeks.
They say you only remember good things about things that have passed. We have this uncanny way of focusing on things that make us happy, that lighten the burden of loss even by just a little bit. It’s probably why I only miss my dad when I think of him, and I only remember him as the great, fun, funny dad that he was, even though you’d told me that he was pretty much a dick, and everybody knows that he was.
Maybe it’s for the best that that’s all I remember about you, because now, when I think of you, all I can do is smile and remember how happy we were when we were together. I forget how hurt we both were that night, how forceful we both had been, how angry and frustrated we both were. I just remember you, and your smile, and how you could hold my hand and kiss me and I would know everything would be alright.
I know you’re happy, and sometimes I wonder if this whole setup was just so you could finally get away, so you could breathe again, so the expectations and the responsibilities would be swept away. It’s something we both know I can’t help, the doubt, the difficulty with trust, but I just remind myself of that night before I left, when you’d hooked your pinky with mine and promised that you wouldn’t forget, how we both hoped for the same thing, and I believe you.
You may not be around when the vulture is, or when my pills wear off and run out, but our good memories always will be. I’ll have something to hold on to, for the very least, until I can finally get back up on my own two feet again.
Originally posted on Tumblr on Nov 14th 2012