I passed by your old place the other night, that little apartment on the other side of town. I try not to think about it, try not to remember the white walls, or the living room couch where I used to curl up on weeknights, paper and pencil in hand.
I know you don’t live there anymore, but your memory still haunts the steps up to the front door, the parking lot, the entire road. I still suck in a breath when I pass by, and hold it until I’m on the next street, and no longer picturing your face in my mind.
When I close my eyes, I can still remember the way that apartment smelled—sort of sour and outdoorsy and musty, mixed with that cologne you always wore and the lingering smell of good food. Such a distinct scent. So many memories.
It still looks the same on the outside, slightly worn and tired. New people live there now. New people who probably put in fresh carpet and installed an air conditioner that doesn’t drip. New people who know nothing about the moments we shared behind those walls—late night pizza dinners, cuddling and movies, parties, laughter, learning to love again.
I have to admit, sometimes I avoid that part of town. It seems easier that way. Easier to not think about where you are now, miles away in a new home, making new memories.
But everywhere I turn I’m still reminded of you.
Because I loved you in this town.
I find pieces of you in the grocery store, where we used to wander the aisles. I find our memories tucked behind the dugout of the ball field, where you would kiss me good luck before games. And I think of you when I pass by the school, those hallways where we walked, hand-in-hand.
Sometimes it’s hard, being surrounded by memories of people you no longer have in your life. They become like ghosts, whispering over your shoulder as you wait at the stop sign, or turn onto the main road.
But it’s hauntingly beautiful in a way, too. Because it was them, and your memories with them, that made a place feel like home.
But now I’m ready to leave home, and you, behind.
It’s time to leave this place—these quiet streets, the field where we used to sit, the roof where we looked at the stars, the worn path we walked, that old apartment of yours.
Leaving this place means leaving you, but I’m ready now. I’m ready to wrap you in a memory box and set you aside. I’m ready to place you somewhere on a shelf in my new home to be opened only when I really need a reminder of who you were, who we were.
I’m ready to be in a place where you have not yet haunted every road, every room, every corner with the turn of your smile.
I’m ready to let go of you, and leave you as you are—memories of what used to feel like home.
And make a new home somewhere else.