Even after all this time, there’s still a bright blue neon sign inked across these arms screaming no vacancy. But please, darling, don’t mistake this lack of vacancy in the hollow atriums of my person for needing you. I have never needed you.
This is how I’m moving on.
It won’t be immediate. It won’t be now that I will suddenly find myself free of the pockets of us that we quilted into this sentimental fool. And no matter how you wish I could compartmentalise and discard our relationship as ‘things that could have been,’ it won’t be tomorrow either. But these days when the pain plateaus in missing you and the person you were, this will be how I am inching towards moving on without you.
Is there a time limit on how long you can continue to love someone after it’s supposed to be over?
It’s been four months, two days and yet I’m still counting. You departed Hong Kong as quickly as you entered it last week, leaving tyre tracks along my spine in your wake. As terrible as it was seeing you again, it had been just as good. Your departure signaled relief, displacing the anxiety in each breath I took. I won’t ever tell you that I had to reinforce my knees from buckling when I saw you, and though they trembled—it was hearing you say “I don’t love you anymore” and not crumbling that proved to me that I am okay. I’m still breathing even without your love.
I’ve finally discarded the cache of photographs I thought I could one day look back on. But I realised with a quiet sadness that keeping them meant I was holding onto a possibility that would never come back. It’s the strain of your job; it’s the distance; it’s the time difference; you say it’s all of the above that would destroy what happiness and fondness we had left. But excuses and apologies fall on deaf ears when all I hear was that I was not enough for you to try.
I’m trying not to be bitter about that.
Because we have both changed, and I think, I learned that the love I felt with you—I loved you with such fierce commitment and sincerity that I don’t think you could quite comprehend how one person could love like that. You weren’t ready for the sort of love I was giving, the kind that pours into your soul instead of dripping into your bloodstream. But that is something you get to learn after healing broken bones time and time again. When you are ready, it won’t be me like we both had hoped—because though great love may wait, great love isn’t supposed to break you and leave you overwhelmed in where to start repairing.
I won’t lie and say it doesn’t hurt anymore and that I don’t think about the ‘what ifs’, but they come in daily murmurs rather than waves now, and it’s something that I’ve been so grateful for lately.