Apple AirPods on white surface

I Don’t Like How Certain Songs Remind Me Of You

I don’t like how certain songs remind me of you.

There are videos on YouTube that I skip past now. There are playlists on Spotify I haven’t frequented in weeks. There are words that used to fill me with joy that I can no longer hear without feeling stabbed in the heart.

The reminders pour in like waves I can’t control, and I’m on a paddle boat, waiting to collide. The wall of water engulfs me, tosses me around, and while I survive, thrashing breathlessly, I am left wounded and fatigued.

I don’t like how certain books remind me of you.

There are pages that I can no longer read. There are authors I shy away from and quotes that I wish weren’t as renowned as they are. There are things people say, and I must stop them mid-sentence, because the words seem too familiar, too empty, too meaningless.

Your words fill my ears, reverberate around the chambers of my mind, echoing constantly, and there is no peace left to find. I find myself grasping at straws with people, and grasping strands of my hair in the face of all that I can no longer stand. There are phrases I can no longer hear, for after the number you did on my heart, there is no room for another to enter just to disappear.

I don’t like how certain scents remind me of you.

There are bottles I avoid, though I could drown in their liquid, letting it fill up around me, just to feel your electric embrace. There are racks I stay away from, shelves I must avoid, samples I toss away, for memory lane is now ticketed and picketed in a thousand trying ways.

The wafting fragrance fills me up with nostalgia, and I find myself under once again. Waves toss about inside this broken shell of a heart, and I find myself admitting all I didn’t when we parted.

I don’t want to be reminded of you.

Not your skin, not your smile, not the minutest of whiles that you and I spent together, crafting heaven amidst a sea of burning desire. Not your hair, not your jokes, not the way I thought you heard me when I spoke—distinct and with focus, like no one had before. Not your sayings, not your advice, for I’ve chalked it all up to lies, given that your promise to stick by me is marked with the dying trace of your goodbye.

And yet, deny it as I may, here I am before the day can even break, watching my sorrow go up in smoke as I stay awake and pen this note that will never reach you. There are things I want to yell—tell you just as well, that it was selfishness and cowardice to count on me to always take the higher road. Unsent letters and unheard words inundate every corner of my mind and I just can’t seem to find the way to let it all go.

And so, with this pain at the back of my throat, I put on a smile and start the show as I performatively go on to be all that is expected. Like a monkey in a cage, I dance to the tune that is played with monumental rage within a chest that holds far too many secrets. The only thing that jolts me awake from time to time is a familiar tune or rhyme that stops me in my tracks.

I don’t like how certain songs remind me of you.

Learning to channel my thoughts on paper.

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