Do you measure it with the number of times you can curl his name inside your mouth every time you speak? Or do you count the number of loops he has knotted in every single thread of thought running through your mind? So much so that it was hard to think of something, anything, without a morsel of him- his laugh lines, the timbre of his voice, his cute punctuation-less texts, the syllabus of his name, the way he drives- jarring and interrupting your thought processes- like potholes in the road and the skips on your iPod on faulty songs?
Do you count the number of free-wheelies your heart seems to make when his name lights up your phone, or measure the pauses your heart seems to take that moment you see him searching for you in a crowded place, and you hold back calling out to him, so that when his gaze finally finds yours, you can savor the way his eyes latches and settles on you?
Do you try to chart out the mathematically impossible graph of how the more you tell him, the more you seem to have to tell him? Maybe you list down the number of things you see on your way to work that reminds you of him, or do you work out how the angle of your need for dry wit is perfectly met by his degree of deadpan humor?
Do you track the days when they pass until the next time you breathe in the scent of his skin? Do you try to figure out the bewildering formula of how the sum of all his good and his idiosyncratic parts is fast becoming greater than your entire world?
How do you weigh then, how much you love?
Do you weigh the kisses he pressed against your mouth- wordless love letters sent on an express delivery route to your heart? Do you weigh the messages he leave inside your wallet and between pages in your book, hastily scrawled ‘thinkin of you’s and ‘think of me too’s as solid and sure as lucky pennies secreted in pockets of yourself, barely any weight at all but strange how we feel slightly emptier without them? Do you note the way it felt when he calls you ‘My girlfriend’ in front of his friends, and how you felt snug and safe wearing the weight of that title, and yet also somehow, it made you feel invincible against the world?
Do you weigh the future you build together, gradually weaving ‘us‘s and ‘we‘s into vacations and christmases until it is an indistinguishable calendar of ‘ours‘? Do you weigh all the weaker and darker moments of his past that he had let spill to you and you had secretly kept, in foolish hopes that one day you will be able to fix that part of him that you were never a part of?
Do you weigh all the promises both of you have knitted around each other, binding you to him, and him to you? Both the spoken and the unspoken ones?
How do you then determine how much is too little for it last?
Do you take the silences in the lapses of conversations you have now, and weigh it against the quiet in the lulls of conversations you had before? Why does the former feel heavier than the latter when none of them actually have any words? Perhaps unspoken resentment and subconscious disinterest have a tangible weight of their own. Perhaps everything that you no longer bother telling him, or him you- the tiff you had with a colleague during work, his best friend found a new job, your favorite aunt is critically ill, he got a speeding ticket today- all of these that both of you couldn’t used to let spill fast enough every time you meet- are now pooled into the space on the table, shoved aside to make space for both your smartphones so you can better see what your other friends are up to on Instagram, and how his favorite soccer club is faring in the league so far.
Do you measure the gradual chipping away in his text messages? ‘K.’, ‘Ya.’, ‘Nvm.’ – Do you wonder how so much hurt can be packed into so few alphabets? Do you try to measure the amount of tears you have shed in screaming matches where nobody wins, do you measure how many ‘fuck this‘s he had gradually started peppering every argument with? Do you tick off the number of days you can go without getting into a fight with him-”Well, we went for seven days before today’s argument, I guess it’s much better than the previous time. Maybe we’re getting better.” And how you have been slowly reduced to thinking of something like this as getting better, instead of worse?
Do you count the number of words he said that night in the park behind your house, wrapping his words in a cloud of cigarette smoke, as if that would help obscure the piercing edges of ‘end‘ and ‘break‘ and ‘us‘ when you finally let them sink into your mind? Do you measure the cautious distance between his body and yours, and how he was careful not to let any of him come into contact of any of you, already marking both of you as separates, even when you feel like your heart is still burrowed somewhere between his floppy hair and restless hands? Do you fixate your eyes on the amber glow on the end of his cigarette, fastening your gaze on the only light you can see at the moment because you’re so afraid of the terrifying crushing dark that is lying in wait for you once he gets up and leaves this bench?
When he finally gets up, toes the cigarette into the ground, gives you an awkward pat on the shoulder ‘text me or something when you get home okay?‘ and leaves, as you watch the dying embers flicker and fade on the ground, do you idly wonder how if tobacco yellows teeth and fingernails, then is it possible that heartbreak can stain the soul?