A Missing Piece to My Puzzle

A month after he stopped my heart’s beat, and I still miss him. Still feel his touch on my arm, my face, my hip. Still see the sorrow in his shimmering eyes when our hopes of happiness seemed long lost. Still love him.

The ache of loss bites my checks when a smile darns to spread its false fingers across my face. My head turns as I laugh, thinking I’ll see his smile at my side, hear his laugh harmonize with mine. But the space next to me is empty, the air void of that spontaneous song.

Amongst the pleasant content I’ve found in daily life, the simple joys obscured through the tears shed for the loss I knew would soon hold me, that space where he stood lies vacant. The emptiness of things we never did, the void of words I should’ve said, the stillness in my smile and glass in my eyes as I think of those plans postponed, indefinitely. The mortar between the bricks of the life I’m building is missing. One solid blow could knock those bricks to the ground, scatter and break them to pieces. No matter how beautiful or how sturdy the bricks, when no passion wills them to stay, glues them in place, they hardly exist at all. Without the mortar to hold them, what good are the bricks?

Maybe it’s wrong for love to be the passion I want for purpose, to hold my life strong. Maybe it’s wrong to frown at my buzzing phone when the name it shows isn’t his. I should move on, but the desire to forget his laugh, my tears, our mornings of lying in his bed as the sun climbs through the morning clouds, into the eternal blue, continually eludes me. Memory is like a knife in my side.

Every morning when I turn to silence my alarm, the knife plunges deep inside my chest. The memory of happiness, even fleeting happiness that slid through my hands like water flowing through my palms, brings only pain, a thirsty hurt. But the pain feels better than nothing. Because as long as that knife cuts through my body, there is a crevasse inside me. And in that crevasse, I have room for hope. Forgetting would mean leaving that hope to rot unattended in the pile of lost love I keep stacked next to my pillow, only to be visited in my dreams.

But this loss isn’t like the others in my pile. I can’t bring myself to forget, to grow a hardened shell around the scar, kicking him out of the hole in my heart and stitching closed the gap. That’s how I’ve always handled heartbreak in the past. Seal his entrance closed. Banishment, never allowing to return, walling him from getting close enough, even, to irritate that hardened scar.

I can’t do that now, though. So many moments we haven’t lived, dreams we haven’t shared. I keep a hold of that pain. I love that knife in my side. Loving the pain of memory in place of loving him. When love is left in the past, trampled in the dust of our paths once walked, suffering becomes our solace until we can release the strings tying the soles of our shoes to their dusty prints in the road. My soul will not drop his. No matter how fast my feet run.