The end of the world

I’ve recently thought about what I’d do if the world was ending. If the phone lines all crashed – if nobody could contact each other… I don’t know how I’d react.

I couldn’t go to Long Island because I’d have to drive through NYC. All the roads would be blocked and that’s honestly the dumbest location to be. I can’t see my parents – they’re too far. Gas would be hard to come by and I wouldn’t be able to get as far as DC, let alone Florida.

I hope my parents wouldn’t come to me. I hope they’d live a normal day; enjoy the sun—walk the dogs—drink wine. I hope they’d hope the best for me, but fade away with linked shadows.

Where does that leave me? Who will stand by my side? My friends, I hope. But there’s a yearning in me for the love of my life to be there.

But that’s not now. Thankfully, neither is the end of the world.

Continuing.

I once wrote a letter. It contained my deepest thoughts and feelings about you… and I never sent it. I wanted to, trust me, but ultimately, it’s now tucked into my journal—the pages torn from being carried around for so long—and it’s going to stay there, invisibly so.

I think I wrote it wrong. I think I was right to leave you be, but again, I was wrong to believe that letter could change something. I’m not sure what it was; that you’d finally understand why I was so hurt, that you’d empathize and feel for me, or that I’d convince you to love me.

But I couldn’t do that to you. Deep down I knew the truth—even if I couldn’t live with it. Even if they were the most powerful words I’ve written, I knew they wouldn’t move you. Maybe that’s why I stopped writing—if I couldn’t make you feel, I couldn’t make anyone feel.

Maybe that’s why it’s so hard for people to not talk after a breakup. We rely so heavily on a partner to be there, and then one day they’re not. Even when we are restricted from communication we seek that rush from our ex’s name popping up on our phones—even when we claim we don’t. We want their attention, their love, and we want their time to be our time once again, but with one slip up, we crave more.

That’s the tip of the iceberg of my fears in reaching out to you. If I told you I didn’t spend hours upon hours thinking of the right words to say leading up to that day, I’d be lying. However, that day, somehow, the words poured out of my fingertips. Completely different ones than you’d find in that letter, but ones that felt right. As always, things were so easy when it came to you.

They weren’t romantic and they didn’t plead or explain more than you needed to know, but they were honest. They told you what was going on, explaining that it wasn’t an option for me to reach out—that I couldn’t be more grateful for you to exist because of who you are and what you did for me.

I had no fear in your response—unknowing that I’d ever get one. I didn’t need one because I knew the words did nothing but good for you and me. I felt good, but I have never felt so great to read the reply. I felt pardoned of a crime I spent sentenced to for one year; a crime you now wrote that I never committed.

I tortured myself for that year. Countless time was spent wondering what I did, how things ended in that way, and how imperfect I really was, but you said it wasn’t me or anything I did. Things just had to be that way because they did and I believe you now because I’m unable to write a different reality.

On the phone we once talked for hours about space as a metaphor for relationships. I told you how gravity is my favorite force because it’s infinite. Everything is pulled towards everything, but sometimes other variables get in the way of two objects meeting.

I told you then that if you were a shooting star (which you are), that all of the objects you pass are attracted to you, as you are of them. Sometimes you’ll pass an object and feel such a strong pull that you’ll loop into it’s orbit. Sometimes you’ll pass an object and never see it again.

Life has moments that must be appreciated in the now because we’re unaware of so many of our orbits. If they’re lasting, then we must appreciate the objects that pull us so. If they’re fleeting, then that short time was an infinity among itself.

You thanked me for being who I am and helping you to see who you are. Our two-text interaction was the capstone to everything we lived—the months of sleepless excitement, the days of butterflies throughout our bodies, the hours of video chat dates—all timing down to two texts.

Just as you and I continue on, so will the words you find here. They’ll describe new eyes, serendipitous moments, and other adventures of the heart, but our gravity will always be there, shaping and moving us, even invisibly so.

Day 17

I watched the sunlight sneak around the blinds and slowly creep along the white walls beside the window. We always smiled at the way the light casts long shadows from our picture frames, like they were slowly waving at us before we woke enough to speak a word to each other. But this morning, just as the light touched a picture of us, my heart dropped.

It was you and me at your cousin’s wedding. We were “big cheesing,” as you called it, and you were holding me—exactly how you had me all night. My hands were in yours as we greeted your extended family or your hands were around my neck as we danced to every pop hit, throwback, and guilty pleasure they played. The smiles were real and the picture was no lie—it was bliss captured in one moment.

It was the future I saw because it made sense. It was your family, with me, and our happiness… I thought you framed it to remember that… to know it would happen. And now I don’t know what more you could have wanted.

I shouldn’t have watched the sun through the blinds, knowing where it shines, but I’m not sure what else to do. I don’t sleep and there’s not much else in the apartment to look at anymore. I should take the picture down. I’ll do that later today.

My days have felt fake recently, like I’m living the life of someone more dramatic than myself. I drag my feet to work and zone out in front of the computer. It’s not like me to realize I haven’t eaten anything… oh, well, it’s 3PM. Yeah, it’s not like me to realize I haven’t eaten anything at 3PM.

I don’t care what plans I am, or more recently, am not invited to. There are either fewer happy hours in our friend group these days or I’m just not included in them. But I get it. I’m not happy for many of my hours, sharing friends is complicated, and I’d rather not bring everyone down anyway.

I’ve avoided my phone recently, which I guess is good. There’s a sting when I look and see no notifications—not that I’m hoping to have one from you—that’d probably make me throw up. Instead, I’ve been looking around more.

Today, I noticed the full moon start to rise as I left work. I don’t know what it is about daytime moons, but they remind me of the summer from when I was little. There was no school, no work, no stress, and no plans. I was living for the day and to start anew tomorrow. I wished for a day like that.

When I get home I sit and tell myself I’m going to read or apply for jobs, but I don’t have the effort for either. Instead, I throw on a useless show meant for someone utterly addicted to television and allow my brain to rot. We used to call this place a home and now it feels like a cemetery for my former life.

I shower around 9PM, thank god, and I remember I told myself I’d take that picture down. When I walk into our room I hold the frame for a minute and wonder what thought it was behind your smile that would have you leave me like you did. I place it on the floor of the linen closet and climb into bed, anticipating the thoughts that will surround me as I try to sleep tonight.

I know I’m not okay, but I’m better than I was yesterday. Every day is easier than the last, until one day really screws with me, but I’m generally getting better. I wonder how you’re doing all the time. I shouldn’t, because of the circumstances, but I know it can’t be easy for you, even if you’re pretending to be fine.

We loved each other, and fought, and made up, and loved more. With every high was a low I knew we’d get through together, but now that we’re alone, I just want the best for you. There were secrets in our lives only we knew, and no, that shouldn’t keep people together, but that’s still sacred to me.

I’ll admit I still love you because our memories are hardest to let go of… and I’ll admit I don’t want to let go of them either—I just want them to be older memories that I can admire from afar. You were my person for so long that I forgot what it’s like to be my own and re-learning that is why I struggle.

As I lay, I look around and realize you’re not in this room anymore. I think I feel a little less haunted because of it. The moonlight is creeping across the now vacant wall we occupied like a paintbrush over canvas and I wonder if tomorrow will be good or bad to me. Just as I wish for the good, my world is swallowed by dreams of the summer and full moons rising before nightfall. I dream of your face, smiling, and suddenly, of nothing at all.

Orbits.

I wanted you to contact me. I wanted us to cave again, even if it meant distance and heartbreak and confusion again. That was better than longing for something I cannot see.

No, it’s not fair, and yes, everything would have to change, but it’d be worth every ounce of trouble for me to have you.

The way I felt about you made me question if I ever loved before. And living beyond my time with you was like watching a shooting star blaze by in the night sky and then watching the void just for a glimpse of something more miraculous to come.

I don’t know how to handle my life without the light you gave me. As my life screams signs pointing to you, I wonder if your life returns arrows in my direction.

I closed this chapter with you. I thought it was over and my lesson learned, but what if your orbit centers near me? What would we do if our star illuminated the world? What if we could see and it was all clear?