Tag Archive | heartbreak

David

You know what I found this morning, in a long-unopened compartment of my wallet? It was a letter from you, dated several years and a lifetime ago. Tucked into the folds were three balayong blossoms, dry and fragile from being pressed for so long. You loved me then, I remember. You recorded these promises for posterity, so that I can read them over and over again and know what I meant to you. And then you changed your mind.

Dammit, David. How can I still be hurting over this now? People’s hearts get broken every day. People get left behind, and people move on. So why the heck am I here, plenty of time and plenty of adventures later, crying over sheets of paper that no longer hold anything real? It’s not like I spent my days wallowing in heartbreak. Eventually, I stopped missing you or even thinking about you. I loved, I laughed, I engaged. I did things that matter. I grew up a little every day, and I stopped wanting you back. You are no longer a part of my life — most of the time.

But some days just catch me off guard. It could be the little details, like the sight of my own palm, messy with squiggles and lines whenever I write with a ballpoint pen. I can almost hear your exasperated laugh,  almost see you trying to figure out why the ink that should have landed on paper ended up on my hand instead.  Or it could be the big things, David, the wounds received in the process of living.  Somehow, every goodbye is still an echo of yours, every person walking away steps in your footprints until they are out of sight. And suddenly there would be tears flooding my throat all over again. After all this freaking time.

So here I am today, writing on tear-soaked paper, thinking that’s enough. That’s more than enough. I want to love again like I loved you, in spite of risk, in spite of fear. Loving you taught me just how much I could give and how far I can go, and I don’t want to lose that. I want to offer myself again to someone, the right someone. You didn’t stay, David, but someone else will. Someone else deserves this misguided intensity of emotion that I wasted on you, long after you didn’t want it anymore.

I’ve always been the one who remembers. In a way, I’ve come to accept that, the inability to really forget what was once important. The memories will remind me to be careful, but I could stand to let go of the souvenirs. It’s been over for so long. This is the part, I think, where I stop letting it hurt.

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Before and After

I used to know the exact moment you walked into a room. I would feel you there, and I’d turn, and a sense of peacefulness would grow inside me, immediately, without exception. I could be hurting or afraid; it didn’t matter. Your presence meant that no matter what was wrong, there was still something right.

Now it’s all too easy to pretend you’re not there. To see a photograph and look at everyone but you. The longer I could look away, the more it meant that the obsession was over.

I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not.

 

(This is a response to the 100 words challenge in Velvet Verbosity. The word for the week was “within”.)

Still haunted

It is such a simple thing, an embrace. The first memory you gave me, and the last one I’ll forget.

I’ve been discarding all the things I miss about you, one by one, like plastic pearls from a broken necklace. No matter how beautiful they seem, I now know exactly what they’re worth, and I have to let them go. There was one that looked so perfect I thought it was real — the image of you looking up at me from the water as I hesitated, just about to jump. Trust me, you said. I will never let you get hurt. So I jumped, and you were there, and I started to think that maybe you always will be. Now that memory lies in the dust with the rest, all the other promises and gestures and smiles that turned out to be less than real in the end.

But the memory of your embrace remains. The first one, when I started to realize that you might become more important than all the others, was that afternoon on the couch, when you held me in your arms and sang me to sleep, running your fingers softly through my hair over and over again. I could feel your strength and all of your breathtaking gentleness, and the tenderness of the moment surrounded me like a forest, like a place I might get lost in forever and never want to leave. I felt safe, cherished, and utterly at peace. I felt loved.

But now I no longer feel anything but disillusioned, and I would do anything to forget. So how do I erase the memory of a touch, when it turns out that it doesn’t mean what I thought it meant? How can I stop remembering the way that you held me, now that you have irrevocably let me go?

It is such a simple thing, an embrace. But it is far less simple to forget.

Disenchanted

In my younger and more vulnerable years —

Hah.
I say that as if I am aged
As if my armor is perfect
But I’m not, and it’s not
And what I am, I confess
is scared.

Not cynical, not jaded
Just plain old afraid
With fingers clutching tattered remains
Of faith misplaced.

So when I say,
“When I was young and vulnerable”
What I actually mean
Is that once upon a time
I was brave.

*****

This was written as a response to a prompt on Carry On Tuesday.

By the sea

I went out with a friend today. We went out and we sat by the ocean, and somehow the conversation turned to the first one who broke my heart. Suddenly, I found myself talking about you again, after long years of thinking of you too much, then trying to forget, and finally succeeding. I surprised myself with all the little things I remembered — the way your laugh always made me feel like laughing, too, the way your eyes lit up with that irresistible smile, the way our friends always introduced us as childhood sweethearts and I’d protest that we weren’t, while you were quite happy to pretend that I’ve had a crush on you since kindergarten. I haven’t thought about all these things for so long, never even noticed the moment when I grew out of the habit of keeping you in mind. But now, with the gates of memory unlocked, I found myself remembering your hands on a guitar, your hands that could coax the sweetest music from any instrument you touched, your hands that used to hold mine. I could almost feel the thrill of it all again — my hero worship, the slow transition from seeing you as my best friend’s big brother to someone I could fall in love with, the stunned wonder when I realized you felt the same. It was my first time, and it was better than all the stories said it would be.

That day, as I sat watching the waves and allowed the memories to flow out of me, as I sat reminiscing about all that we used to mean to each other, I realized that it didn’t hurt anymore. There wasn’t even the slightest tinge of sadness. The what-ifs and the might-have-beens no longer haunted me. I could think about you, and talk about you, without pain. I could look back at all the wonderful little details that made you who you were, and realize that there is someone else who knows you better now, and be happy for you. I could take pride in the decent, honorable man that I knew you to be, and even though it didn’t work out, at least I know it was worth a try. You were one of the good guys. Not the right one, not meant for me, but worthwhile. And it’s okay.

Getting over you, being able to put you firmly in the past and wish you well for the future, being able to talk about you with fondness — it frees me. Though my heart is broken now for another reason, perhaps I can hope that someday, after the healing passage of time, I will sit by the ocean again, and watch the waves,  and laugh.

A Small Step at Sunset

She sat on the grass under the huge acacia tree, watching the sky change color from a clear blue to the glowing hues of sunset through the lacy patterns made by the branches and leaves. It had been a good day. She had gone out with her friend Jake, wandered around town with him for a bit, until they both ended up in this peaceful place where the traffic sounds faded away. It was just the two of them, the sunset, and their thoughts.

It was the first time he’d done this with anyone, Jake said — just sitting on the grass watching the sunlight fade into dusk. Smiling, she told him she’d never been to this spot before, either. She usually watched the sunset somewhere else, with — no. She would not think of him tonight. She would not ruin this moment with memories that were beautiful once but were tainted now, because he left.

Restless, she absent-mindedly picked at the grass, feeling the soothing coolness of their leaves against her fingers. She plucked and pulled until she found a particularly long blade. Automatically, her hands moved to start weaving a grass ring, like she always did with…. Sigh. The memories would not leave her alone tonight.

Helplessly, her mind flooded with images of the first time they watched a sunset together. The first time she made him a grass ring. The many times he promised he would never let her go. The last time she believed him. She took a deep breath, willing herself to shake off the painful questions that she knew might never be answered.

Jake looked at her in concern, but she just smiled and shook her head. He was a good friend, but she knew he had his own ghosts, too. They were both haunted. They  both needed to forget. She needed to let go of what she never thought she’d lose, and he needed to give up on what he knew he couldn’t have.  The difference was that he could talk about it, and she couldn’t. Not yet. Maybe someday. She looked forward  to someday.

In the fading light, she looked at the half-finished ring in her hands. She took another deep breath, preparing herself to break yet another link to him. Despite a sentimental hesitation, she knew there was no point in preserving what was no longer real. He was lost to her, permanently. It was time to make new memories. Slowly, she started weaving again, knowing this one was for Jake, but also for herself. She was letting herself let him go.