Stay up all night listening to things like traffic, the whir of your computer’s fan, your own breathe going in out in out. Try to make out the conversations happening beneath you on the night streets. Wonder if those people have someone to go home to. Wonder if they’ve ever felt what it’s like to be so, so alone. Stare at your ceiling a little too long. Secretly hope it caves in on you and kills you so that they see your obituary in the Sunday paper and feel really, really terrible for breaking your heart just days before you were crushed to death by drywall and insulation. Try to make yourself cry. Decide that you did it; you cried the last tear to ever be and now you’re effectively out of tears to shed and no amount of Never Let Me Go will make it happen for you. Exist for days like this, in this sleepless cycle that leaves you catatonic in your 9 to 5, but somehow wide awake the second the sun is down. Pile up all the gifts they’d ever given you into a Safeway bag with a tear next to the handle, including the jewelry that they picked out especially for you. Leave it on the hood of their car in an especially dramatic fashion. Try to pick up smoking again. Get really sick on the side of 5th street because you’re too old for nicotine and it no longer agrees with you. Formulate 557 word texts ripping them to shreds, pouring your soul out, and laying it all out on the table. Delete those texts. Stop trying to talk to them. Stop talking about them. Try to forget their name. Try to forget the way they curled up against you in bed and the way they would sigh in their sleep. Promise yourself to forget everything because forgetting is safe and forgetting is strong and forgetting is all you can do. Develop a strange infatuation with drinking red wine out of coffee mugs. Say it’s because you enjoy a handle – it gives you something to hold on to. Move across state lines. Curse their name when they move just three hours from you a few years later. Start to see the ghost of them on street corners, in crowds at concerts, even in your own elevator. Internally label yourself haunted. Become paranoid you’re going to run into them. Remember, you wouldn’t even know what to say if you did. Kiss someone who isn’t them. Randomly cry one night when that person is fucking you and remember, “Oh yeah, this is what it feels like to exist in the world.” Keep existing. Stay up all night writing letters to yourself to remember what it was like when you didn’t think you could, that you would, exist without them. Fall a little bit in love with it when you see the clock on your monitor change from 12:59 to 1 AM. Listen to the sounds of the cab drivers whizzing past your building, and the bubble of the champagne in your coffee mug on the bedside table. Remind yourself again that you’re still here.
You’re still here.