I listened to your favorite song tonight, the first time since I said over the phone I didn’t love you anymore. It’s been six months since then. It’s been a long six months. So long I no longer remember whether or not you had creases around your eyes when you smiled, or what the shape of your ass was against my sleep-heavy hand. I don’t know if I want to remember the sharpness of your incisors against my tongue, the warmth of your neck, the smallest sighs, the way you smell. The way you smell, I used to believe, was all the home I ever needed. Then it wasn’t. Now it isn’t.
Though most of the time I’m happy wearing skin that I know belongs to no one but me (this is what I used to think—that you owned the only important part of me and I, you), I am never without the knowledge that I am alone. Friends and acquaintances, yes, but without someone to whom I can wholeheartedly give myself, as I could with you. I think you share this sentiment. It feels like the moments after you’ve misplaced something important and you know you’ll never find it again. It feels like wiping the steam off a mirror, only to watch it recondense in the streaks born from your palm, fainter this time. I watched a squirrel crawl, wary, across the campus courtyard today, and when I walked nearer, it shielded itself with its tail as if that would prevent me from attacking. I did not attack. Yet I realized that I had no one to whom I could relay this story—so here it is, pixels on an anonymous computer.
When we were together, I used to imagine our wedding all the time. I never told you this because you had always indicated fear of commitment, the fear of waking up after two years of dreaming. It happened, didn’t it? I still like to visit bridal sites, and sometimes I imagine wearing a white dress in front of you, and sometimes I think that after we both graduate, there’s a chance we might still end up together—older, more responsible, ready to release ourselves from the selfishness of adolescence. I box all my future happiness into these thoughts. They scare me.
Six months later, and I’m beginning to feel the emptiness you must’ve known from the beginning of our separation. Often, it is the heaviness on my eyelids. I wonder what you’re doing. What you would think of me now, thinner, less burdened by the depression that dragged through our entire relationship, hopeful as you’ve never known me. I think I’m finally becoming the person you thought I was. When I remember what love feels like, I picture the conversations we used to have in the bathroom: one of us on the toilet, just a tinge of self-consciousness, the unbearability of spending even that short amount of time apart.
This is how I remember love now: texting you about my pooping habits. Curling up for a nap together in the middle of the day. Spontanteous kisses while cooking. Holding your hand as we drove.
This is how I remember love: crying into the phone at 3am. Always afraid you would leave me. That I had finally fucked it all up. Feeling worthless, inferior. Guilty. Responsible. Waiting for you to finish working. Waiting waiting waiting.
Even now, I cry. What is there to say? I no longer believe the sun shines out of anyone’s ass. Not mine—I would burn.