He and I had always sort of been a given. When you thought of one of us, you thought of both. Everyone knew that. We grew up together; grew dumber, then smarter; grew awkward, then more beautiful.
We were an unstoppable force, caught in the gust of winds that would always bring us back together—somehow, eventually. Inevitable.
But we were destructive. Our best of times were times of crisis — times when we only needed one another, when we could cling to each other with all the intensity our exhausted limbs could muster and kiss each other until there was nothing left inside of us. These were the times we were on fire, burning, mad for the other person. It was times of normalcy and calm that we couldn’t handle. We had a hard time existing in the day-to-day mundaneness of each other’s lives. It was during these times we would lose one another.
I’d lose him because I had a paper due next week, and I needed to focus on school more than him. But I’d gain him again when the lows struck — when I was wide awake at 3 AM, chain smoking cigarettes and trying not to break anymore.
He’d lose me when he needed to run errands, but I was too busy with my friends. But he’d win me over again the next time his mother kicked him out, and he was left driving around in the middle of the night, sad music blasting through his speakers, as he dreamt of driving forever.
We were so good at putting each other back together, but we didn’t know what to do when we were done. At fixing what others had broken, what we had broken. I knew him well enough to stitch him whole again. He knew me well enough to realize that it would pass in a few days, but he’d be there until it did.
I’d lost and gotten him again for four years before it became permanent. We were both tired of crises. We wanted to be whole, actually. We were sick of breaking. We were sick of only having each other in those broken hours, because we wanted less brokenness.
At first, time passed like it always did, and I hardly noticed him gone. He’d been gone before. But soon enough, the cold crept back in, and it took all my strength to not dial his number.
Losing someone for good, or for as good as you think, feels like waking up from a beautiful dream only to discover it was not, in fact, real. You have this feel all day, not just the morning. The dream was what used to be, and the shocking reality is that it’s not anymore.
It feels like those mornings when you wake up, aching and disoriented from a night of binge drinking, and reach across the bed, only to find it empty, cold. You’re alone.
It feels like how the sky looks after a storm, bleak and white. It feels like the aftermath of a storm, debris everywhere, messy and in need of repair.
It feels like 3 AM, chain-smoking cigarettes until my lungs ache, staring at the pieces of myself surrounding me, and knowing that, for the first time, I have to put myself back together. Alone.