If You Leave Me
I don’t know what I’ll do. I want to say that I’ll go on being the same person, that confidence and happiness and self-worth is something that comes fundamentally from within and those various metrics on the “how am I doing in life” scale will resemble exactly what the were when we were together, but I doubt it. I imagine that I will likely find myself in a deep state of mourning, as though someone very important had recently died — and in a way, you will have. You will have ceased to exist in all arenas of my life which are important, which count for something. You will be no more reachable at that point than if I had buried you.
What will I say? People will come from all areas of my life, people I haven’t talked to in months or even years, asking me how I’m doing as though I had just succumbed to some terrible illness. Is being alone an illness — something that the community must gather around and treat with care and affection? Will I need to have my wounds bandaged by every friend who can bear to listen to my sob stories again and again as I get progressively more intoxicated on a night out that was intended to be fun?
I don’t know if things will be fun. I toy with the idea of imagining things without you, of plotting an entire day of which you are not even the smallest part — I can’t. It all seems too bleak, too final, too cold where there once was undeniable heat and comfort. I would likely be the person everyone pitied, the one who is no longer able to enjoy things because she can only see her life for what it isn’t, instead of all the undoubtedly beautiful things it is. I don’t want to be here — I have known her, and I don’t like her — but I don’t see any other alternative when it comes to planning things once you leave.
Really, though, I just wish that I didn’t have to think about these things. I wish that you leaving weren’t some horrible fate which lingered on the periphery of my vision and haunted me with prospects of having to start all over again when I was once sure I had it all figured out. I don’t want you to leave me, but I fear that you will. I can feel you slipping through my fingers when I hold you in bed at night, as though you’re entirely made of sand and I was foolish enough to assume that I could beat the laws of physics if I just loved you enough.
There will never be an amount at which I love you enough. In fact, it stands to reason that the tighter on I hold, the more eager you are to pack things up and go — I am suffocating you in a small, barely noticeable way. I am asphyxiating you with my inability to move on from something that hasn’t even ended yet. You know that leaving will crush me, and so do I, and so we’re stuck in this never-ending dance of who is going to say what needs to be said, once and for all.
I won’t. I can’t. I can only plan on the moment you finally decide that there is something better out there, and I reconstruct my life piece-by-piece because I have no other choice but to move forward. I don’t look forward to it, I don’t anticipate that it will be easy, but I can’t just initiate it myself and get it over with. With you, there is no easy way out. There is no getting over things and deciding that I can move on if I want to. There is only necessity, and decisions made entirely without my consent, and the reality of being alone again. Again. Like I knew I would.
If you’ve been looking for a chance to say something then this very well could be it.
I wish to God I’d had a list like this when I was 23.
Answer phones better than anyone else has answered phones before. Relay messages so brilliant, they bring people to tears. Turn the coffee run into the choreography of Swan Lake. Become best friends with every intern and every underling and every taxi driver you encounter.
By Ella Ceron
I remember taking the pen and notebook from that woman outside the courtroom, flipping to a clean page in the book, and writing, JESSICA IS SAD in big, bold, uncoordinated letters. “My sister is going to be a good writer someday! Look at how nice her lines are!”