Our hearts break sometimes. It’s messy and terrible and we are left in shattered pieces that refuse to fit back together in any coherent functioning way.
You are left trapped and alone in your memories of what used to be. You fall asleep pretending that they are still with you. You close your eyes and make believe that nothing has changed. It’s the only way you have the strength to face the next day.
You can’t imagine loving anyone else. You see life only out of glasses forged from disillusion and hurt. You can’t fully grasp the concept of a future without the person you loved so you remain in the past where everything makes sense. Even the most harmless of things trigger flashbacks that only reopen your wounds and further anchor you to the past. You can still remember the happiness in that elusive once upon a time. Your memories taunt you, dangling those moments of perfection just out of reach.
This is how you stay.
But the harsh reality is that those days are gone. The world does not stand still with you. Hours pass. Then days and months and years.
The person who wanted to spend the rest of their life with you just doesn’t give a fuck anymore. They begin to love someone else. Eventually, they change so that the person you loved doesn’t even exist anymore. Not exactly, anyways.
The looks in your friends’ eyes change from sympathy to pity to annoyance. Their comforting words feel more and more strained. The words you use to express yourself begin to repeat themselves. You find yourself asking the same questions over and over. There is no new material to feed your thoughts because you are only living off of the past.
The memories in your rearview mirror only get further and further away. Everything you assumed would last forever continues to slip away, blurred with time. At first, you feel confused, almost disoriented, but slowly that disappears too. You first forget the details: the way they smelled, how they laughed, the rhythm of their heartbeat. Next, you lose the experiences: deep conversations, late nights, and intimate moments. Finally, something you once called love vanishes, leaving behind only fragments of scattered emotions and memories.
You forget that you are trying to forget. Free from the shackles of the past, you begin to regain your sanity. You build new relationships. Your life stabilizes. You find a sense of direction and that direction is forward.
Time only marches forward. We can never return to a time and a place. We can never become our past selves again. There is no rewind button for life. There is no going back. The present will always fade into the past. And we must move on or be left behind.