The door slams behind him, and suddenly, you find yourself alone again.
You look around the room. His presence took up so much of it. Now it is empty, at first in a bad way. You look at the place he used to rest his guitar. You stare at the spot he used to put his feet when he was sprawled out on the couch. You glance at the places you used to lounge while you talked to him on the phone when he was away. You look at the door, the one he used to come in through so many times. You look at the handle on the door, the one he used to leave, maybe for the last time.
You regard the room and wonder if it will ever look the same. The answer is no, of course, but you have no way of knowing that eventually, it will look better.
The room continues to feel empty for a while, and so does the rest of the apartment. I guess, in a way, so does the rest of your life in general. The room he left from is quieter without his constant lullabies. Your bedroom smells like him, and it probably always will a little bit. When two people spend so much time together, it’s almost like they create their own, combined smell, and that’s what your bedroom smells like. Not him exactly. The both of you; the us you used to be. You breath deeply every once in a while, remembering. Then you cry.
Then you cry.
And then, you cry.
Sleeping is hard. Here is the place you fell asleep listening to his voice on the phone, there is the place you drifted off while he was working and not quite ready to go to bed yet, and everywhere is the place where you fell asleep entangled in his arms. Your sleeping habits are riddled with him, and each night of slumber isn’t nearly as fulfilling as it used to be. Your body twists and squirms, as if trying to rise off of this bed that has touched him. You slept so well next to him, and even just with the thought of him nestled in your elbow crease, or the space under your tongue. You miss him. Your sleep, your sleep misses him so dearly.
When you find yourself alone again, it takes some time.
You notice you haven’t removed the peeling nail polish from your toes in months, because when you painted them he was still here. The hair tie you always wear around your wrist is getting too worn, but you refuse to change it out because this is the hair tie you used to put your hair up when you kissed him. Your tears pool at the corners of your mouth as you refuse to let go. You refuse to let go.
You find yourself alone again, and again, and again. Letting go feels like it would make everything worse. It would be alone in a way you’re not prepared for. And so you prepare, and you cry, and you sigh.
When you find yourself alone again, finally, you let go.
The room that he left that day doesn’t seem as empty anymore. In fact, without him, it’s actually a little fuller. His crooning is replaced with the musings of the birds outside. His guitar is replaced with flowers and knick-knacks that you leave around, sometimes on purpose and sometimes by accident. His presence is replaced with yours, and you realize that your presence isn’t half bad.
The room is drained of him and filled with you, and it has never looked better.
You start to see the world without him. That fountain in the park isn’t the fountain you used to wait for him at. Instead it’s the fountain where you had your next great idea. That Indian restaurant is no longer just the place he showed you; now it’s the place where you had great food and good drinks with your friend before going out for a night on the town. He fades into the background, and when you still think of him you can smile rather than see your sanity cracking in the air around you. It’s ok. You let him go from your heart so that he could stay there in a different way, and not make you so sad.
You start to do things for yourself. You take up yoga. You walk a lot. You make friends with strangers. You make friends with friends you had forgotten. You write until it feels like your bleeding, the toxins pouring out of you. You smile and you breathe and you forgive, mostly yourself. You are so alone, and yet you realize maybe you were so much more alone before.
Maybe someday you won’t find yourself alone again. You thought he was the someday. It’s ok that he’s not. Your body and your mind will never forget how to be alone. They’ve spent a lifetime making an art out of it. They will be ok.
So will you.
When you find yourself alone again, you find yourself. You wonder if maybe you should be alone more often.