This is the part you were trying to avoid.
This is the part that you always kept tucked away, deep in the rifts of your mind whenever something new begins. The part you know eventually comes, but you’re normally prepared for. Most of the time, you know when it’s about to hit.
So why didn’t you see this coming?
At first, he was just an escape. A temporary void to fill, a distraction. It’s hard to be in a new city where you don’t know a soul. It’s easy to feel lonely, restless. You needed something. You needed that extra push, a catalyst to rouse your current absent state, to spur you to move forward.
The first time you meet it’s all timid glances and sweaty palms. The first time you meet it’s all heart-thumping-itself-out-of-your-chest shy. The first time you meet you only had two sips of your beer but you feel like the room is spinning. You talk about everything. You play air-hockey and lose. The first time you meet it’s all laughter and lust.
Then it has been a week, and you are leaning against the front door of your car at 3AM and he is leaving teeth marks on your neck. You drive home feeling intoxicated when there is no alcohol in your system. Every time you see him, you peel back another layer and watch him mold into someone that looks so much like you. You are smitten. You are enamored. You are a not a ghost town anymore. There is no one haunting you anymore.
You give in to these feelings. You think the universe has wedged together all the different pieces of your life as a prospect for this. You write poems about wanting to let love in again and put a barricade on the archway to your past.
And then, without warning, he stops.
One night you are two bodies shuffling around on the grass at midnight behind his house, and the next night he tells you he doesn’t see this going anywhere.
And this is the part you were trying to avoid.
Because now you are shattered bones. Now you are dry-heave, grief-stricken, spewing out your emotions into the toilet bowl sad. Mercilessly wondering what you did, re-playing the last night in your head, telling him you understand when you don’t.
You try to wash him off your skin in the shower and drink your weight in wine, try to unlearn the way he kissed and the way your hips moved aimlessly under his sheets. You try to forget the way he slept, with his face softened and his arms crossed in front of him.
Tell yourself that you just romanticized it. Tell yourself that it was just a fling.
That maybe the brightest flame burns out the quickest.
That maybe, this time, you can just be glad to have been so close to the sun.