When the world moves around you, it is almost impossible to stay in that space, alone in yourself, wondering when things won’t feel the same anymore. The quiet was nice, the calm, the chance to just worry about the small flat he left you with, and making enough to sustain it. But there is a time when we grow tired of the back and forth, the limbo, the loneliness. Never be afraid to stop, never be afraid to say to yourself “I’m allowed to grieve”. Once addressed, the grief then passes, and that allows a chance for new things to fill its place. That is where I am now, 4 months down the line, no longer looking at flowerless trees in nostalgic gardens. No longer clinging to the years, the times, the closeness. There is plenty more to come, I know it’s true now, I felt it.
When I reached 26, I mourned myself. I saw an end to the chance to make mistakes. I looked in the mirror and knew I was no longer a girl, but a woman, fully formed, expected to be infallible; perfect. I put pressure on myself, drove myself to the ground with expectations, cried for a person I could never have been, from the years that had passed me by until now. I wanted to blend, live in silence, and I would sit for long periods of time just alone, while he went to his job, or out with his friends. I worked enough to survive, but that was just it, emotionally I was barely alive. I was lost, with just the love for someone holding me there.
Take the love away, I say take; I mean rip, and suddenly there is no hold. You are just a woman, in a room of things, staring at the bare walls of your rental apartment, a ghost to the surrounding world you detached yourself from when time began to weigh you down. The sheer emptiness can not be understated. Your parents come to see you, try to take you for a meal, and you can barely swallow a bite from the lump in your throat. Work gives you two days off, but expects you back by Wednesday evening. You watch him come back and forth taking his things bit by bit, apologising, saying you look thin, trying to make a positive spin on it. You forget sleep because you had to keep busy. You keep your job until you can leave. You then spend time healing at home, renting out Saturday nights at your couples apartment to keep it going while you heal. You prepare for a future without the one your past was centred around. A future you originally moulded for him. And slowly, the dust settles, and you find yourself here, now, fully enrolled on your PhD, commuting to London for a research masters at the same time, making friends and reevaluating your work. You pitch yourself to new people, they look at you in awe, and you realise that maybe you didn’t make the mistakes you thought, it really was him, not you. Maybe you were perfect, as perfect as anyone can be. That all the heartache was the clarity that you needed to know it wasn’t your fault, and you were never wrong to feel the way you did for so long. He was never the end for you. He was another passenger on your journey, someone you watched through the window as he left, the one who turned back to look in your eyes one more time in acknowledgement, before turning away for good. You never understand the encounter, and you never forget it, but you move on.