There was a time when we were happy. We carelessly whiled away our days and drunk away the nights. We heard old songs and loudly sang when our favourites played on the radio. We laid in each others arms and saw the rain pour outside. We played with our interlocked fingers and talked about the future. We were in love. It’s been a while since things have changed.
Sometimes in my dreams, I visit the past that used to be. I walk in a world where we aren’t broken. I dream a faded memory of our story. I see us walking in the house you grew up in, you softly tell a joke in my ear about one of your relatives and we laugh. It’s like watching an old movie – everything is in a taint of classic vintage yellow.
We sit on the dining table for supper. I unblinkingly inhale everything you offer. The delicate mint sauce cooked by your mother. The love in your eyes as you put a spoonful in my mouth. The way my name sounds in your voice, asking if I like it. The soft touch of your fingers on my cheek, when I say yes. The smell of your neck as I lean forward to kiss you. The hole in my heart when I realise it was all just a dream.
I open my eyes and the imaginary world collapses around me. But the memory of that meeting lingers in my mind long after the night has passed. It had felt so real. I remember it just as I saw it – like an old photograph.
I realise there’s no point addressing this letter to him. He was the one that burned down everything to the ground. He will set ablaze the last shreds of my memory like dreams too. I can’t let him do that, they are all I have left.
I don’t know if all ex lovers possess the power to haunt your dreams. I’ve only had one and he visits more often than I’d like. We dated for six years. It took me 6 months to accept that we had broken up.
I suffered from all stages of a normal break up : the long period of denial, the phase of stalking every bitch in his 50 feet radius, crying to him; getting drunk and showing up at his doorstep, pretending to ignore him and trying to grab his attention. No matter what anyone told me, in my heart I desperately clung on to the possibility that he will come around.
I gave up when I realised I wasn’t fighting for our relationship anymore, I was fighting a war with myself. I was the only warrior on the battlefield of our love, he had walked away a long time ago. That day I put down my weapons and accepted defeat.
You know, as a victim of a lost combat, I learned one very important thing. Life is composed of voids. They are these deep, dark spaces that engulf you in a whirlpool. It’s like falling in a deep pit and remaining motionless in there. You don’t know the way out and you don’t care about finding it. Staying in the pit is better than facing the reality. You see the world around you and you pretend to be a part of it. But your mind is far away, it lurks in the pit; it is stuck in your past. It’s a strange feeling, to exist in two worlds at the same time. Things are happening around you, the world is moving, but you are at a stand still. You are numb.
If you ever find yourself in this dark void, know this, it’s an illusion. You haven’t really fallen in a pit; you ARE the pit. You are not inside a void, you have become the void and only you have the power to destroy it. You don’t have to fight a battle with someone or something outside of you. Your enemy lies inside. You are the one stopping yourself from being happy, because a part of you is living in the world that doesn’t exist anymore. Find that alter ego, the second self that remains in the past. Recognise it when it tries to pull you in your void. And kill it. That’s not you. That was who you used to be. The past has gone. So let that version of you go too. Bury that person and take your time to mourn its death. Don’t grieve your lover, grieve the person who was in love with them.
You need to die, so that you can be born again. It’s not easy. It may take months. Years, even. You may lose a few battles, but you should win the war.
Your new beginning will be your rebirth. Create the person you’ve always wanted to be. The one who doesn’t live in the shadow of another half. The one who is a complete whole in oneself.
One question I remember asking myself everyday was, does it get better? Will there ever come a day when I will be able to live my life without being haunted by his memory? All of you who are asking yourself this question every single day, I have an answer. I started this letter a year ago and I’m writing the following sentence exactly a year later. Yes, it gets better.
A year ago, I never could have imagined finishing this letter on a hopeful note. And so I never finished it.
In the past year, I realised that the void inside me was the insane idea that my happiness was associated to him. I had imagined my life with him so intensely that the one without him didn’t seem to be worth living. I remembered the girl I used to be before I met him. With that came the recollection of all the dreams I had before we started dating. I had replaced every single one of them with the wish of spending the rest of my life with him. How shallow had I become; wasn’t my life supposed to be more than being just a love story? I wanted him, but at the cost of what? Was he truly worth my career, my happiness, my friends, my life, myself?
I decided to restart my life from the girl I was before I became his girlfriend. I focused my energy on doing everything I had ever wanted to do before he came in my life. On becoming the person I always wanted to be. She was much more than just being somebody’s happy ending.
I moved to a new continent, got a job that I loved, travelled to four countries, met some incredible people, made new friends and kissed a few strangers. I took little steps each day and step by step, day by day, everything started to fall in place.A year later, I am happy. I survived.
Today, I don’t even recognise the girl that started writing this letter. That wasn’t me. But in the relentlessness of him, I think I found myself.
And so, I address this letter to all those who think they are broken in love. You aren’t broken, just a little bent. Don’t write letters in your head to that person who left. Write letters to yourself. You alone are responsible for your happiness. It will take time, it took me a year. But I promise you that one day, you will wake up to a life without that person and smile. One day, it won’t hurt anymore. One day, you will realise that you are your own happy ending.