It was eerily quiet the month following our break up.
I didn’t listen to music. I turned my cell phone to a permanent silence. I watched TV, but kept the volume on mute.
The dogs would occasionally bark, shattering the stillness.
I don’t know why, but I wanted it that way. I wanted to exist in a wordless black hole. I wanted it all on pause.
Considering how often I cry at commercials, everyone assumed I would have been in hysterics when we decided to part. Throughout our relationship you saw how easily my tears would come: when I was hurt, when I was angry, when I was just really tired. There is no gate up, no dam to keep the water in place.
But when the goodbye came, it was all hushed.
I didn’t tell people it happened. We both decided to keep it under wraps for a bit. Something about being the couple perceived as absolutely sure to one day get married and failing at it felt like, well, a failure. We weren’t ready for the rest of the world to know we were all wrong. There’d be no walking down the aisle.
My best friend was concerned I wasn’t processing. Or maybe worse, that I was bottling everything up so tightly, no one could hear a peep. I didn’t talk about it. I didn’t cry. I didn’t question how we could have been so close only to eventually drift.
I was just quiet.
I think I felt the enormity. I understood what a loss it was. But I couldn’t go there. Not all the way. I needed the silence. I needed to pretend the world wasn’t painful and loud and full of voices that weren’t yours. I needed that.
Of all things I’ve cried over, our break up was still not even top five. I don’t mean that to sound harsh or like I didn’t care. You know I did.
Maybe part of me kept thinking about an alternate universe. I couldn’t have much noise in this one because I was busy imagining the life where we end up together. I pictured the universe where we make it all the way. I thought about us working through it instead of deciding to call it quits.
There’s this other life with us, somewhere. We’re probably married in it. You play the piano we have in our living room and I sit on the bench beside you. Sometimes, we sing. Sometimes, I try to freestyle rap and it’s terrible.
But we’re together.
Perhaps I haven’t grieved you in this lifetime. Perhaps I’ve never really accepted the ending because I know, somewhere, we’re together.
There’s a world where it works. There’s a world where we prove everyone right.