When I first missed you it was loud, it was jarring.
It was behind slammed doors and guttural cries with no hope for being quiet or silenced. It was in smashed wine glasses and found in the cracks of my foundation and my soul. It was destructive and visceral and demanded that everyone acknowledged its presence. I wore it like a warning, a red flag, made myself a walking cautionary tale of grief and loss for a long time.
And then one day…I didn’t.
I wiped away my tears and got out of bed. I swept up the glass and put metaphorical and literal bandaids on wounds I’d been ignoring for far longer than acceptable. I stopped letting my pain follow me around like a shadow and filled my life with new people and a new place and said goodbye to my grief. I ripped off the mourning label and tried my best to redefine myself as a girl who never needed you.
As a girl who no longer missed you.
And for a while it worked. I dyed my hair and signed a new lease in a city where you had never touched me. I filled my world up with passions and people I never knew before and I remembered what it was like to laugh and believe in possibility again. I reinvented myself and became someone I was sure would never need you or anyone else ever agin.
It worked. I did not need you and I did not miss you.
Or at least…I did not miss you loudly.
There was no crying, there was no peeling myself up off of the bathroom floor at 3 AM. I had filled in the cracks on my metaphorical house that were left in your wake and no longer shook at night due to the cold of your absence.
Instead, I realized I miss you in the little things, in the details. Rather than there just being one giant, aching, gaping hole of heartbreak and you, there were little pieces that made me pause. That made me break. That made me remember you’re no longer here and that that’s still painful.
That made me, and continue to make me, miss you.
I miss you when I smell fresh coffee in the morning, and feel the contrast of the heat of the mug to the bite in the 8 AM air coming off of the Sound. I miss you when my toes first hit the water at the lake and when I start to feel that warmth of a sunburn on my shoulders. I miss you at 2 in the afternoon on Sundays when everything is lazy and there’s no urgency anywhere to be found.
I miss you in the little things.
Instead of it being a pressing, desperate, all encompassing sort of hurt, it’s quieter. It’s a softer kind of a hurt. It’s duller, and distant, but no less present.
It’s there when I book a plane ticket and wonder who will be next to me. It’s there when I start to hear the rain outside of my window and wonder if it’s drizzling where you are too. It’s there when the freckles on my arms start to pop out in the summer and I trace them like constellations with my own fingers.
And even though I no longer wear my mourning of your absence like a badge of dishonor, it’s still there.
So I sip my coffee, smile sadly at the twinge in my heart, and go about my day without telling you.
Because at this point, that’s all there is to do.