if I ever feel it again #flashfiction

I didn’t feel anything when he left. I took all the energy I would’ve had and lost myself in all the things I loved before he came into my life, as if I hadn’t changed in the last two years. And it was somewhere around the third week that I realized with each person that leaves, a part of me dies. And someday there will only be flesh and bone that’s left, but even that was never mine.

And I wonder if I’ll ever feel it again.

fresh

I will write your name over and over

until it does not hurt anymore

and if that takes a thousand pages

at least it will be over.

and I will forgive you someday

but first I have to forgive myself

and sure, I’ve learned to love myself

but it’s still fresh

it started when I left

the world’s most nostalgic person

And I didn’t know how I wanted it to go until that day. It wasn’t like I was unhappy, but I certainly wasn’t happy. And sure, sometimes I was content. But it wasn’t enough. I fall into this trap of settling so often, you’d think I’m not still young. I get petrified of any negative feeling; I ignore the ones I’m already feeling. And it’s ironic, and I get that, but sometimes it’s hard to tell what’s wrong until it’s over. And this happened a year ago. I’m only thinking about it because I’m the world’s most nostalgic person.

I miss things. And I miss people. It’s the reason I annoy my friends with all the mentions of exes. I get accused of not being over them, but it’s not true. I don’t miss the people; I miss the feelings. And sometimes I miss the people, but it’s not usually for long. I miss ex friends more than I miss ex boyfriends. And even them I know I’m better off without.

And on the day when that two-year, arguably worst relationship of my life ended, I remember I went to the gym. I know we shouldn’t have broken up over the phone, but he lived an hour away and we both knew it was coming anyway. I went to the gym and I listened to a break-up album that had conveniently just come out that day. I became fixated by it. I wound up going to the gym a lot in those coming months. And I was fine. I was happy. I didn’t miss him in the slightest.

But I realized, after two years of constantly being lied to and treated like yesterdays garbage, that I was happy to be single. And I’ve been happy being single for the better part of the last year. I think when that nightmare of a relationship started, what I needed was a friend. And I realize now that all I really want are friends. I don’t feel like I need a boyfriend or girlfriend to be happy. I’m just happy hanging out with my friends and watching a show and maybe having a drink. And that’s fine.

And now Valentine’s Day is coming up and I never much did celebrate that even when I was in relationships. So, I’m not too worried. I’ll probably end up watching some rom-coms at home and I’m content with that.

Her, alone

She drove until she reached the forest, camped there for the night, and drove on to the next. It had been a week-long journey with no defined end. Teary-eyed and broken-hearted, she made the spontaneous decision to travel by car until she couldn’t remember his name. Or at least until it didn’t hurt to think about his bright blue eyes and his contagious smile.

She inhaled sharply as she merged into the right lane on the vast and ever lonely stretch of highway. She had just passed the only car she’d seen in the last five hours and the weight of her reality had been pulling her deeper and deeper into a pit of sadness, like a ton of bricks on her barely beating heart.

When she decided on this trip, she didn’t realize how depressing it would be. Traveling alone is clearly lonely, but she realized this just too late. It should have been obvious beforehand. Any sane person would’ve known traveling alone is as lonely as it gets. But she wasn’t sane. She was a grand mess- hair askew, nail polish chipping, the same shirt she’d been wearing since he told her he found someone new. She couldn’t bring herself to buy new clothes.

Work called her yesterday when she didn’t show up for her shift. She had a long talk with her boss about love and life and to make sure to keep them up to date on when she’s coming back. She was fortunate enough to have a job she could leave and come back to as she pleased. She was also fortunate enough to have the money saved up to go on an indefinite endeavor across the country.

None of that mattered, though, because the whole time she was miserable. She wanted to go home, but couldn’t bring herself to head that way. A part of her wanted to live out here. She was in the forests of Washington, thousands of miles from home. All she had were the clothes on her back and her water bottle, but the thought of stopping at home to collect her things- where her now-ex-boyfriend also lives- made her nauseous. She thought a lot about just how hard it would be to transfer to the Seattle brand, get an apartment, new clothes, furniture.

She found herself surveying houses in the suburbs. This one’s too small, that one’s got no driveway, this one would be nice. Oh, and an open house. It won’t hurt to go in. I can say I’m thinking of moving out here from Massachusetts. It’s true and doesn’t invite too many questions I can’t answer. Oh, and it’s cheap, too. I could afford this if I transferred to the Seattle branch. I should call my boss….

Empty

“What happens now?”

“You can go.”

Where was I supposed to go? We were sitting in his car, in a parking lot miles from my house. I didn’t move. I couldn’t remember how to. I wasn’t sure I had control over my body anymore.

He shifted into drive and brought me home. The drive was just a few miles, but it felt cross-country. We sat in silence the whole way. The radio had been playing quietly, but he shut it off without saying a word.

“Ok.” He said softly, barely audible.

I opened my mouth to speak, but found no words. Nodding, I left.

A letter to my past self.

There’s so many mistakes you’re going to make,

so many things you wish you said

and so many things you could’ve done better,

but you’ll get through it just fine.

To me from a year ago:

Good things are close,

do whatever you can to keep yourself busy,

and you don’t need an excuse to do what you want.

If you want to spend all day watching YouTube,

who’s stopping you?

Don’t move in with your boyfriend three weeks after he betrayed your trust.

Just because he’s going through a tough time doesn’t mean he should be your responsibility.

To me from two years ago:

You don’t need a boyfriend, 

you need a friend.

Reach out to people you’ve lost contact with.

Don’t date that boy just because he’s nice to you.

You’ll hate your summer job,

but it’s good money for the time.

And for fucks sake, don’t listen to that boy you’re going to date-

you don’t need to buy weed, he does.

To me from three years ago:

Let it go.

That annoying person shouldn’t ruin your day.

Yeah, he sucks but he’ll make for a good story.

I’m proud of you for getting through your first big break up.

It was months ago, 

but I know you’re still dealing with it.

You’ll be over him soon.

He still texts you every couple months, though.

To the future me:

I hope things are still going good.

I’ve been trying to set you up for success.

I’ve fallen into a routine of positive coping skills,

and I hope you stick to them.