Winter went on for six months here.
Not just the snow and the hail and the deep, deep cold; my soul was hibernating too, shrinking to a tenth of its size, as if to protect itself from hypothermia. I was writing, still – poems, articles, my thesis, a novel – but I was running on reserves, and I knew it. Eventually, I hit the bottom of the well, and when I had to come up with something new and fresh and original…
…I was empty.
Nothing excited me. Nothing made me happy. The rare sun would peek through the clouds and warm the Earth, and all I would do is hide under my duvet. It was as if, the last time we said goodbye, you reached into my chest, and walked away with my heart.
Melodramatic, yes? I bet you’re disgusted – after all, my disdain for such sentimentalities was the primary reason you liked me. Most likely, the reason you stopped liking me was you figured out how fondly I regard them.
I thought I had let you go. I did it, over and over again – with every word I wrote, every angry stab of my paintbrush, every distraction I piled on. Yet, sooner or later, thoughts of you would return, and then it would be as if I never made progress in the first place.
Part of me didn’t want to make that progress.
Despite all the ink I spilled over this thing between us, despite all the self-abnegation and slut-shaming I piled on my head, I was always careful. Always holding a little bit back, painting a sheen of plausible deniability over every expression of hurt. My poems? I’ve been hurt by many men, you are in pretty big company. My novel? Well, the editor did say to do something painful to the ex-boyfriend. These articles? They’re about universal truths – you honestly didn’t think they would publish me if I wrote about myself, right?
I couldn’t let you go because I couldn’t accept that you were gone. I was hurt, but I was also planning for a day when we would be together again. A day when I would have to justify all my current pain to you, apparently. A day when I would need plausible deniability to be with you.
The day I started to accept that we are no longer in each other’s lives, I realized for the first time how unfair I was being to myself. I was acting as if I was your girlfriend, waiting for you to come home. You were off, acting as if I was a speed bump on the road, to be avoided and never spoken of again.
The day I started to accept that we are no longer in each other’s lives, I caught a glimpse of you from afar. Not the real you, but the one my friends saw when I described what had happened. Not a god or an alien, somehow different from the rest of us humans. Certainly not the ultimate judge on my character, or who I am.
The day I started to accept that we are no longer in each other’s lives, I also accepted that we didn’t want the same things, didn’t value the same things, never did. It made it easier to understand why I found it so hard to let go… and why you did not.
The day I started to accept that we are no longer in each other’s lives, I wrote melodramatic and overwrought words, described us in vomit-worthy superlatives, penned your name and mine… and I honestly didn’t care if you saw it or not.
I don’t care if you see me hurt.
I don’t care if you think I’m uncool or embarrassing.
I don’t care if it messes with the idea that we are still pals, no hard feelings, what’s done is done.
I’m done hiding my pain. I’m letting the healing begin in earnest.
We’re not in each other’s lives anymore.
Nothing I do matters to you.