The ghost of you haunts every inch of my house. There’s no escaping it. Every time I walk through the entryway it cuts right through me. I think about how you’d come over and we’d meet at the front door, you’d turn each cheek for a kiss before kissing me on the lips; and when you’d leave, we’d say good bye at that same door, this time you leaning in to place a gentle kiss on my forehead; me watching you walk away as I closed the front door, missing you already. I finally started filling up your empty drawers in my dresser. My socks and nylons and tights now live where your pajamas and spare clothes once did. I still go in to wash my face at night and expect you to be taking the throw pillows off the bed and finding something to watch on TV by the time I’m ready to curl up in bed next to you. I finally threw out your toothbrush. When I’m cooking there’s more room in the kitchen now and no one to tease me for how dull and cheap my knives are, but then I’ll find a little Tupperware container with the remnants of a specialty spice blend you’d invented for something or other, and I realize room to cook just means I’m cooking alone, cooking for one. I sit on the couch and what once seemed too small for us both, is suddenly too big. It’s not the same without you next to me, holding my hand or one of us lying down, our head in the other’s lap. Every day I have to fight the ghost of you. It’s everywhere. Reminding me you’re gone.
And it’s the pervasive little things that ambush me at random. Like going to Costco and seeing raspberries are back in season. My initial reaction being I had to buy some, then wondering if I should. If each bite would be yet another painful reminder of you. Raspberries were one of your favorites, but only if they were just right – even in season it was all too easy to get stuck with a batch tainted by the vague taste of mildew from one rogue berry. That was one of the things I loved about you, the standards you set for seemingly random things. You always came across as so self-possessed. You knew yourself so well. I’ve always admired that in others because at 37 I’m yet to truly discover myself.
And who am I? How did I become this fragile, this broken, this lost? When I met you the feeling was instant. I remember telling my friends that I couldn’t explain it, that somehow I just knew you were the one. And for nearly 3.5 years I truly believed you were. From our first happy hour, to our first date, to our first kiss, to our first time, to our first trip together… throughout the entire two and half years we dated, I never doubted. It was you. Always you.
And I tried. I tried so hard to play by your rules, to respect your request for privacy. I kept our relationship as private as a transparent person like me could. I found it too difficult to maintain my blog while keeping the happiest part of me, my relationship with you, from being in it too much. So I stopped blogging. I chose you.
And when you didn’t get along with my friends, I chose you. Again and again and again, I chose you. I loved you. When I was with you I felt like all the broken pieces and hollow places didn’t matter. You saw me, with all my flaws, and accepted me as I was. I knew you did because you pointed them out to me. My physical flaws, my personality weaknesses… you knew them all. It never occurred to me that you accepting those things was important, but more important was you acknowledging the good things. Telling me I am beautiful, pointing out my strengths. You never did those things. And somewhere along the line I became the girl who didn’t think those were as important as embracing the broken and bad parts.
After you came home with me to meet my family in late August I knew we were ready for the next step. I knew it wouldn’t be long before talk of moving in together became the reality of moving in together. I asked for time off at work over the holidays because I knew I’d be going home with you to meet your family. Finally all my hopes and dreams and certainty about you were coming together. Except you started pulling away. You told me you needed space, that it was all too much, that it was moving too fast. We’d known each other for three years and been dating for 2 at that point, it felt like forever for someone who knew immediately that you were the one. How could it be too much? Didn’t you love me? Didn’t we talk about wanting the same things?
I asked if there was someone else. You assured me there wasn’t. You questioned how I could even think that. You told me it was crazy. You told me you wanted me. You told me you still wanted everything we had talked about, you just needed a little time. For months you told me that. For months you strung me along and pulled further and further away. I asked again and again when we could talk about everything? What had changed? Was there someone else? And again and again you told me I was being crazy, there was no one else. You wanted me.
In December, realizing that maybe we were actually broken up, I decided I needed a distraction. I slept with another guy. And cried as soon as it was over. It didn’t bring you back, it didn’t free me from your memory; it just made me realize that I would wait forever if it meant I could be back with you. I only wanted you. I only wanted us back.
So I continued to try. And you continued to tell me you weren’t ready, but it was close. And no, there wasn’t anyone else. And yes, you still wanted to work things out with me.
The last time you told me that was three weeks ago. But five days ago I found out there is someone else. You’ve been “talking” to her since last summer. You’ve been “officially dating” her since August. When you were with me, meeting my family, talking about our future, you were texting your “girlfriend”. When you told me again and again that I was crazy for thinking there was someone else, that you needed time, that you wanted me… You were with her.
When I sat home alone at Christmas, you were introducing her to your family. At least, that’s what I assume. I heard you took her home to Indiana to meet your family. I’m not sure when that happened. You won’t tell me. You say there was no overlap. You say you didn’t know how to tell me. You say you didn’t mean to hurt me. You lied. Those were all lies. And you did. You did hurt me.
This hurts more than anything I’ve ever felt. I swing back and forth from nearly catatonic to shaking I have so much toxic rage coursing through my body. I feel like I’ve lost my mind. I’ve never felt so broken. So hollow. So lost. I didn’t just lose you, I lost myself. And I hate you for it. And worst of all, as filled with hate and rage as I am… I still love you. And that makes me hate myself.
I honestly don’t know how to process this. I don’t know how to move on. I don’t know how to trust anyone ever again. I don’t know how to trust myself after this.
And I don’t know how to say goodbye. I don’t know how to let go. But I do know I have to.