It was like he rented a room in my head, in my heart, in my universe; he took up space and words. And then, he was gone. He left his stuff behind. Not tangible stuff, but all the other stuff. Pictures in my head. Unwritten love letters, and unsaid words. Cheesy home movie reels in my mind on some strange and random loop. Every argument we ever had, burned on the CD of my brain, to be replayed cruelly, like a bad DJ at a really shitty party. And then, there were my last words to him.
“Please, leave me alone.”
So, that is what he did. He left me alone in a way that didn’t require a real zip code change. He left me alone in a way that was absolute, and irrevocable. I couldn’t skulk my way over to his place with pizza, a quasi-apology, and a promise of marathon Doctor Who episodes. There was no way to message him corny memes and lame texts until he forgave me without me really apologizing. No, he gave me exactly what I requested. He died and left me permanently alone.
 It was like that. Had this been someone else’s problem, I could have sorted them out and put them on the path to getting over him, sit with them over coffee and Tarot cards until they had that moment where things clicked. We would talk about self-care and the grieving process. I would have talked about the importance of not isolating yourself, but allowing those who love you to help you. Suggestions of hobbies, books, painting things, adopting a cat and travels would have been discussed. I know how to do this for someone else, be that emotional sounding board, psychic Tarot card reader, and coffee-shop therapist for someone else. But, I am not anyone else, and the broken parts of me are not allowing the logical parts of me access to do what it is that needs to be done. That is how these things work. It is far easier to back-seat-drive someone else’s brokenness than it is to fix your own.
I am sure this is some cosmic learning thing, at least that is what my logical mind is telling me. It will make me more understanding and empathetic to the woes of others. It will make me appreciate the people I still have in my life more. And, it is supposed to, at some point, teach me life is so short that I should savor every moment as some technicolor miracle.
Currently, though, I am waiting for all of those lessons to kick in, drinking coffee, writing, watching those videos in my head and listening to our mix tape of lame jokes, of loving whispers, of arguments and all those songs we shared.

Laurie Sherman

(original artwork by Laurie Sherman)

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