This is how it ends.
You cannot bear to read the text again. You cannot even fully comprehend the entirety of its message, even after ten minutes of sitting so still. But the words leap out at you from memory nonetheless; “had a great time,” “not ready,” “relationship,” “a good guy,” “someone more deserving.” It seems that your mind doesn’t know you don’t want to remember, you don’t want to know. It was Hell reading it the first time and you’re still passing through.
You don’t even trust the timbre of your own voice, afraid it will break, betray the heaviness in your bones. You don’t even try but you keep your mouth closed, scared of the sounds of loss in an empty house. You don’t think you can stand the echoes. You don’t think you can stand the walls. So you sit tight until the waves subside. It takes time. But you still can’t speak.
You glare at the screen of your phone; not trusting yourself to know if you want to see another message from him or if this deafening silence is better. But it lights up and you grab at it hastily, hoping against all hope that this is a joke, that the end hasn’t come even before the beginning is in sight. But it wasn’t him. You never thought your heart could drop any lower. But it did. With every text you receive not from him, it does. Don’t those bastards know that you’re waiting for something far more important? Don’t they know that you’d give the world just to know a little more, but at the same time, not wanting to?
You take your time constructing a reply to him, after finding the strength to move after ten minutes. You want to ask him to reconsider, to think about this again. You want to tell him you don’t have to rush things between you two, that the hovering in-betweens is better than this definite spin-off. But you don’t want to seem desperate at the same time. You fear your need for affection has pushed him away and you don’t want to prove his theory right. And you wonder, for the first time, where have the words gone to? You know your way around words. Why in hell don’t you have the right ones now when you need them the most?
You try to occupy your mind with something else. Anything else to keep your mind away from thinking about his words. Anything else to delude yourself into thinking that you’re not watching your phone all the time. So you watch a tv series you have yet to catch up with until you realize you’ve missed half the plot of the episode and all you know is that he still hasn’t replied to you. So you try to finish the book you’re reading until you realize you’re not really seeing anything. So you try to write until you realize that your hands are trembling and it’s hard to keep breathing.
You start to ask questions. Out loud. As if, by telling the stagnant air around you, he would hear, he would listen. What did I do? Should I have kissed him harder? Should I have kissed him at all? Was it because of my sweaty palms? Was it because I was texting him? Or because I wasn’t texting enough? He told me he wanted to see me again; was he lying? Do I remember things correctly? I didn’t make him up, did I? All the times I spent thinking about him in the previous days, planning our future dates, was he thinking of ending things already? When I was so busy picturing us together, was his line of thought the polar opposite of mine? But, admit it, even when you see him again, you could never ask him these. Partly because each question would feel like a barb being spat out, but mostly because you’re scared of the answers.
It’s so easy to get lost. You give in to the pull of memories. You can still remember so vividly the first time you saw him. Even in low light, you knew he was something. You remember how cold both your hands felt when he first held yours. You can still remember the twin grins you were wearing when he was driving down the road with your hand clasped with his. You remember how easy it was to talk, to laugh, to give him bits of yourself, just as he is giving away his. You remember the look on people’s faces when they see you holding his hand out in public. You remember the feeling of awe and wonder because you are holding his hand out in public. You remember him being too tall when you sat side-by-side in the movie house but it was endearing all the same. You remember the first kiss you shared beneath the red stoplight. You remember him shuddering and shivering and moaning. You remember him calling you beautiful. You remember calling him too good to be true. Then you remember his text. You remember him. You remember he is too good to be true. But you can’t stop thinking.
You can’t help but think back if there were warning signs you were so willing to overlook. You think if he had his eyes closed when you kissed. You think if his hands were warm on the drive back. You think if he reached for your hand or you reached for his. You think if you pushed him too far, if you gave him the wrong first impression. You think if he was lying all the times he called you beautiful. You think if he was lying when he said he’d love to see you again. You think if he was lying when he said he’d love for this to go on. You think if he was lying when he told you he’d love to meet your friends once you’re official. You think if he was lying during the entire time. You think if he had his eyes closed when he kissed you goodbye. You wondered if he looked back before driving away.
He said goodbye too early to merit tears. You don’t cry. You just sit there, wondering what on Earth went wrong with something so promising. He told you it wasn’t you but you don’t believe the text he sent. What else could it had been? You don’t cry. After all, it wasn’t as if you love him already. You’re just considering the prospect of falling in love with him in the future. It was a lovely dream. Now, it couldn’t be anything more.
Maybe you won’t forget. Maybe you won’t get over this. Maybe you won’t get over him. But one day, the shock will subside. The pain will ease. And it will be glorious.
Sadly, this is how it ends.