When Does This End?


I feel ridiculous talking about it, thinking about it. There is so much other pain in the world, so many tragedies. And yet I’ve never believed in the old adage “It could be worse.” Of course it could. But what it is for me is real. Visceral. Overflowing. Spilling over daily.

I cry at everything. At the scene in Mamma Mia where Meryl Streep sings The Winner Takes it All. At Grey’s Anatomy. When I stub my toe. When I can’t find a shirt that doesn’t make me feel fat. Over and over again.

I can’t go anywhere without seeing you. Feeling you. Remembering us. That was the last place we ate together. We went to the movies there on Valentine’s Day. Once we had sex on that desk. That was the bar we drank in during a layover in Atlanta. That was the building I was passing when she called and told me you had been seeing her too. Nowhere is not a memory.

I think of moving on. I flip through the ridiculous dating sites. People like me, they want to talk to me, to meet me, but they leave me cold. Empty. Exhausted. What’s the point? They aren’t you. I can try. I have. I’ve tried for days, for weeks, and once for months. Usually, I can’t pretend long enough to even reply. It just makes me tired, but I lie awake at night. I don’t want to sleep because I know I will dream about you. The dreams are agony. Usually you are cheating on me or hurting me again, so I am in pain even in my sleep. But worse are the dreams where we are happy. And even asleep, I know it’s not real, but I don’t want it to end. I try to bargain to stay asleep. The waking up is torture. The minute before I realize it’s not real. Then it becomes clear. It’s not real at all. It never was.

The days tick by. Quiet. Nothing from you. I can’t put the bullets back in the gun. I can’t make you call, text. It doesn’t matter how much I want it. How hard I tried, how much I gave, would still give. It’s nothing. You took. And it didn’t make you care. Even appealing to your sense of decency didn’t. Maybe you don’t have one. Maybe you are just toxic, unmoved by the alchemy of my kindness. I don’t understand it. I don’t understand you.