She doesn’t want anything to do with this. She hates the situation and she hates herself in this moment. She wishes more than anything that she could trade places with you. Yes, it seems like it’s a lot easier to be on her side of things. But really, she wants nothing to do with this side. She really, actually wishes she could be the one whose heart is getting broken, instead of the one who has to do the hurting.
She forces herself to remember the details over and over and over. For days. She thinks about your face and the expression you wore. She thinks about what your voice sounded like when you tried to sound brave and okay. She tortures herself with repeating the things she said and the things you said back. She can’t get your expression out of her head. She thinks about it when she brushes her teeth and when she’s waiting in line at the grocery store and when she’s going to bed without saying good night to you on the phone. She thinks about how sad your eyes looked and the way her hands were trembling for hours afterwards.
Her breathing is shaky for a long, long time. She always looks like she’s nervous and like she’s trying to catch her breath. It’s because she’s walking around in a daze, blind to what’s going on around her and only able to see memories of what you’ve both been through the last few days or weeks or months.
She feels like she doesn’t deserve to have any fun. Deep down, she knows she did the right thing. But she also knows that she made someone else hurt in the process. She feels selfish and crazy and not deserving of love. She cannot process the fact that this was the right thing and yet somehow she feels like a monster. People always talk about how the right thing is noble and admirable and brave. But she just feels horrible and cruel and worthless. She doesn’t think she’s great enough to hurt someone this much, which makes this entire thing even more strange and confusing to her.
She’s shocked over the fact that she’s heartbroken, even though she’s the one who instigated this and said this was the right thing and apparently wanted this. She doesn’t understand why she chose this if it’s making her lose her appetite and her spark and her desire to do anything. She’s just trying to hold on long enough to figure out why she did this in the first place.
You were wonderful. You were kind and funny and charming and engaging and everything else she was looking for. But something didn’t feel right and something was missing. And she wanted to ignore it because she didn’t want to let you go. She knows more than one person is thinking she’s an idiot for saying goodbye to someone like you. Even she thinks she’s an idiot. She’s walking around right now with a fear that she just gave up the only person she might ever love. She’s sick to her stomach thinking that there’s a big chance she will never find anyone as good as you. But she’s old enough now and smart enough now to know that she has to trust her gut, even when she doesn’t like it.
It is not lost on her that breaking up with someone hurts a lot more now, on either side of it. She can remember back in middle school when break-ups were almost thrilling, because they meant drama and gossip and new love interests already popping back up at lunchtime. It was always so simple and fun and carefree. But now, the love actually means something. It is so much deeper, which means it cuts a lot deeper too.
She’s not going to get over you in a day like she could in middle school. She might not even get over you in a year. It’s going to be a long process that starts slowly. Even just getting out of bed in the beginning is an accomplishment. Making it through work without crying is an accomplishment. She tries to be kind to herself and congratulate herself on these small accomplishments, but all she’s wondering about is how you’re doing. How she wishes she could talk to you and how she’d do anything to just add your pain to her own so that at least one of you could be happy.
She misses you. A lot. But she knows she did the right thing and that’s the life raft that she grabs onto right now. That’s the thing that tells her that eventually, this will all be worth it. She will be at peace with herself and her decision, and she sends out silent prayers to the universe that you will too. She tries to picture you happy, and even though it’s painful, she tries to picture you in love with someone else. She reminds herself that you can easily find love again, and maybe someday, you might just forget nearly everything about her. All she hopes is that you know she was trying to do her best. She was walking around blindly, completely terrified and hopeless and uncertain. But she was trying. She wanted to follow her instincts and do what she thinks was the right thing.
Someday, she’ll be sure of herself and wise and certain in her decisions. But for now, she’s just trying to fake it long enough to get through each day. And for now, that’s enough.