I am not over you.
I’ve cleaned every inch of my home, the corners, the windows, the mirrors, but I am not over you. I’ve scrubbed you from my skin while weeping in the shower, and yet—yet you linger on my shoulders, around my waist, near my neck.
I’ve tried to rinse you from my hair, off my face, my lips, but you cling like drops of morning dew on blades of grass, sharp, wet prongs nestled in meadows and back yards and beaches and barren, desolate fields.
I’ve lied. I’ve told everyone, our friends, my parents, that you “need some space” and “this is temporary” but we both know that isn’t true, not one bit. I don’t want to believe it or live this new reality, so I’ve created a narrative that is far more palatable.
I’ve tried to shop you out of my system. I’ve attempted to fill the aching void with trinkets and baubles and blouses and dumb refrigerator magnets and stupid, asymmetrical frames for photos no longer relevant, photos pulled and sorted and put into boxes, buried inside the dusty darkness of my closet, sitting high up on a shelf.
I’ve devoured giant bowls of pasta and countless buttery croissants in every restaurant and every organic, hipster, free-trade coffee house in every pretentious brick-lined town, and you follow me, you follow me and sit right down in the seat that isn’t taken, the one that is empty, but there you sit. You sit right across from me while I chew and slurp and stuff and reach for more, while I numb my pain and think about the wrong turns, and the angry texting, and the pining bewilderment.
I’ve hiked every trail, skinning both knees tripping, and I even sprained my wrist trying to catch my fall because I wasn’t paying attention. My head was in the clouds, lost amid the foliage, the swaying branches, throwing their leaves in the same fluid motion as shuffling, old women feeding pigeons, my head was not present, my mind was simply not around, on those days I hit the ground.
I’ve paid more attention to my dog, and he loves it, he thinks he’s the best damn dog that ever lived because of my extra affection, my scratches, my yearning lullaby singing. The treats abundant, the cuddles don’t stop, because I am lonely, I am cold, and he’s all I have left to hold.
Intentions set, I’ve exhaled you out onto my yoga mat, into the world, into the day, into the night, and still—still you settle back deep inside the cracks of my floor and under my blankets and inside my walls, the ones you once painted a deep cobalt blue, just for me.
I find you all along the paths we once traversed together, you in every wildflower, you in every weed, every nut, every bird calling, every moss-covered, jutted rock that looks like a person with hair.
I see you in rushing streams and hollow tunnels, I smell you in dive bars and movie theaters and libraries.
You are in the silence and the noise. I hear you in Steely Dan, Van Morrison, and Chris Cornell. I hear you moving around inside their discord, their harmony, their longing.
You, a catastrophic blast that decimated my timeline. You, how I measure my years, first before, and then after.
I’ve kneaded you right into the sticky dough I’ve pushed and pulled together for my hot and spicy pizza, laden with melted, stringy cheese and scrumptious sauce. It’s you who bubbles and rises again and again. And it’s you who seeps and slips through my hands, my fingers, like the flour I sifted, the salt I pinched, the pepper I twisted and cracked across the smooth surface at the end.
I’ve written thousands of words, hundreds of crumpled letters to you in my head. They are jumbled now, the words, an unsightly pile of messy adjectives and heartfelt verbs. They are homeless, all those run-on sentences, sad question marks, and angry exclamation points. They have nowhere to go.
We spoke of future things and dreamed of an alternate universe and though we were inspired, it never transpired, and now I stand alone, lost amid the aching abyss of empty promises once kept.
I am not over you.
I’ve clenched my fists, and held my tongue, and no, I am not over you.
I’ve done your bidding, I’ve stayed away, but I am not over you.
You were the love of my life, and I wish you well, I wish you happiness and peace. I hope right now you are laughing, throwing your head back and clutching your drink, with someone else, at some pretty party in some other place.
Ultimately, the death of love may deliver a sweet renewal, but I will declare here and now that I prefer the unspoiled warmth of familiarity over the blustery gale of change.
I have let you go, but I am not over you.
No. I. Am. Not.