This Is How It Ends

It has happened to all of us. Some not even once. Some have experienced it over and over again till their hearts bled too much it no longer ache. Some had it good – a proper closure, a warm hug, a bittersweet smile. But sadly, some had it bad – one text message, finding them in the hands of another, losing contact or simply disappearing. And it hurt. Whether you had it good or bad, it will always hurt. Because ending a relationship always does.

This is your breakup story. This is everyone’s story.

You wake up with the sunlight prickling your feet. You grab your phone beneath your pillow to look at the time; it was just half-past six. The bed sheet, albeit crumpled from the night’s passion lacked warmth, his pillow neatly placed beside yours. You get up and make your way towards the kitchen. You won’t know whether to smile or smirk for he even had the audacity to make you breakfast. On the counter were bacon, eggs, a cup of cold coffee, and a note stuck on it that says “Thank you for everything.” Weird, you think, for reading it did not hurt at all. To think that you even fought against your own lungs the night before from crying too much. Was I suddenly no longer in pain? Why was I okay? I’m confidently, definitely okay. You say to yourself. Then you grab the towel hanging on the chair and decide to just take a shower. The temperature of the water is perfect. Out of habit, once you finish, you begin brushing your teeth. But stepping out and putting on a bathrobe, you suddenly freeze. And before you know it, you cry. Tears fall against your cheeks and your lungs begin to fail again. You find it hard to breathe. The pain you felt after hearing that you and him are over rush back, numbing you. Your knees shake and within seconds you are on the bathroom floor, one hand on your chest, and another on his toothbrush you unconsciously put toothpaste on moments ago. And that’s when it finally hit you: he’s no longer around. He has really left. You realize that you are actually in pain. You realize that you are not okay. You tell yourself that you are definitely, no longer confidently, not okay. This is where it starts to end.

Weeks after your breakup, you take down your room’s curtains hastily, as if halfheartedly letting the sunshine brighten your eternally darkened room. You sit on the dusty floor and pull a box under your bed, with the cover reading his name. You find hundreds of pictures of you and him in it, your smiles beaming with glee. Dried petals of roses also lay inside, along with receipts from restaurants and torn cinema tickets. There are also letters that he wrote – a handwritten one and several pieces of post-its. There are even tissues with his doodles on. Carefully you put them inside again and closed the lid. The doorbell rings just in time. You open the door and whom you welcome was a face too familiar it almost hurt.

“Hey,” he simply says.

“Hi,” you reply back with a faint smile.

Instead of letting him in, you reach behind the door and hand him his duffel bag you prepared the night before.

“I had everything ready,” you say.

And then it was his turn to smile. But it wasn’t a happy one either.

“Thanks,” he hesitates, “so I guess this is it then?”

Your throat suddenly tightens. “Yes. I wish you well,” you manage to say.

He takes a step back before gently saying, “You too.”

An hour later you stand in the backyard where you used to have a picnic together. One flick of the lighter is all that it took. On top of the ignited fire, you put the box and made peace with the remnants of your past. You open a photo album on your phone and simply click Delete. You breathe a deep sigh for your own solace. And then you walk away. This is where it ends.

While you continuously believe that time will heal your wounds, it won’t. Because time is only a tool, a bandage that patches up the cracks of your heart. Because time is nothing but a friend that helps you get through your life. Because it’s you – and not time – who heals you. Time itself will only pass, just like the pain you feel while you are going through any kind of breakup. And this is how it ends.

You realize that you begin to go on a day without thinking about him. Then you go on a week. And when you think of him unconsciously after this winning streak, you realize that you do not feel at loss anymore. You no longer feel the same. You are healing. You go to work or attend school, and the little things that used to remind you of him no longer affect you. Yes, every once in a while, you may feel that tiny throb in your heart, like when your body remembers how a newly-healed cut used to ache, but you no longer bleed. You reconnect with your friends whom you unintentionally set aside when you were in a relationship. You dine out with your family and spend time with them. You begin to appreciate the you that was born after countless, sleepless nights. You pamper yourself. You climb a mountain, bungee jump, or learn how to dive. You find your passion and let it beautifully consume you. You learn to love again, even if that person is you. Then one day, when your guard is down, you see him at the mall. But whether or not he is in a relationship with the person he’s walking with, you simply do not care. You hold no grudge and ill feelings. So you walk on your own pace until your eyes finally meet. Unlike you, he does not change at all. At least in your eyes, he is still the person who used to hug you until you fall asleep and the same person whom you once shared a universe with. Neither of you waver. And gently, ever so gently, along with a warm “Hey” in a voice you have almost forgotten, he reaches out his hand and you take it. Then you smile. And this is how it really ends. This is how the pain ends. TC mark

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