I went to a gig without you the other day — my first since the last time we went to see my favorite band two years ago. And that top I wore the second time we met? I wore that to the gig, too — the first time since we broke up.
Remember that song you hated listening to because I had it on repeat during THAT road trip? It was a strange sensation, hearing it for the first time in a long time; memories of us getting lost then being relieved when our destination neared, suddenly heightened in surround sound.
That final note the singer hit was accompanied by you taking my photo, while your taking my hand and putting it in your lap would forever be attached to that final chorus. The second I heard the familiar strains of the opening bars, I instinctively reached out to skip the track — but I stopped, as I knew that just like this particular song, I couldn’t keep skipping past over what was obviously such a powerful memory.
After we broke up, I couldn’t bear to bring myself to visit the same places we had been to — and something as simple as watching our favorite TV show, I would put off for months as I felt as though it would be unfair for me to go ahead and watch it without you. Like a spoiler without its supporting cast, watching scenes unfold without you next to me rendered the whole experience pointless; dooming me to practice this approach across every element of my waking, sleeping, single life.
In time, I met other people who would take your place. Not your person, but literally your place. You see, I knew you were irreplaceable. But those memories of different events and circumstances? Those physical geographic locations COULD be replaced.
So I set about revisiting that library — and got to embark on a secret underground tour I didn’t get to experience the first time round with you. That Italian restaurant we went to with friends? I took a date there — and we had a great time. Remember that awful job I had in the city? Well, guess what — I got a new job with a new company at the same city center building!
Yet sadly, while painting over the memories is a vain attempt at sealing the cracks of our relationship, it was inevitable that the lick of paint I casually coated over those instances would eventually wear away. Despite trying my very hardest to pass these memories off as new and monumental events, the cracks started to show — and those people I put in your place? Their once impressive sheen and gloss faded away to reveal the existing paintwork — your name etched into my heart.
It didn’t matter how many people I tried to replace you with, or the variety of situations I manipulated so as not to mimic that exact memory, I learned the hard way that your place is your own.
No one can ever take your place.
And that’s why I’ve given up on repeating our memories with others. Those memories were clearly given to us for a reason — for us to treasure together, not to be shared with others.
So if I’m ever lucky enough to meet you again, I promise I won’t ever waste a second in putting you first.