You never know stillness until someone walks out the door carrying your heart.
The air changes. You can almost feel it growing thicker, as if all the things unsaid remained behind, left floating in the air. Then there’s the silence—no matter how loud it is, there’s always a silence when he leaves. And then the thoughts come, doubts accompanied by insecurities, exhilaration tinged with regret. Sometimes they creep slowly; often they come in a flood. Give them enough time and they’ll suffocate you.
The reality of him begins to slip into an illusion. You struggle with understanding how a moment ago he was in your arms, and suddenly you’re left with the imprint of his presence. The air still smells of him; your sheets do, too. You can still feel the weight of his hand on the curve of your hip, still feel the tickle of his lips dancing on your neck. His voice echoes against the walls. His laugh—the one that somehow managed to light fire to your darkest demons—reverberates, and you reach for headphones to drown it out.
You replay every moment, attempting to engrave them to your brain because you know over time the details will blur, and you want to remember. You hate yourself for wanting to remember.
It’s in the moments after he leaves you always remember there’s a difference between being empty and being drained. You’re not empty. You can’t be. Not when he’s filled your mind with his words, fed your body with his passion, soothed your soul with his presence. But you’re drained, deprived of the love you needed from him, the commitment he just couldn’t provide.
Within him lays nirvana, outside him insanity and once he leaves you’re left toeing the line. Was he the invasion of insanity in your nirvana, or had he brought nirvana to your insanity? You wonder if you’ll ever know the answer, if clarity will ever come.
You know you’ll have to press play again, because every time you’re with him you never hesitate to push pause. He’s your protection from the world, the amnesia to the pain that always seems to arise in his absence. You’re left trying to hold on to that moment, desperate to live in it once more, even if only for a second.
Because that’s the thing—he always gives moments. Never lifetimes.
After some time you get up, you move. You find your way back to yourself. You press play. His presence will continue to linger. You learn to move around it. Life continues, and eventually his scent fades. After a while you forget what his kisses taste like. Soon you’ve found routine in living life without him.
Then he comes back.
He always comes back.
And you press pause.