I have loved and not been loved back, been loved and not loved back. I do not know what is more tragic, to be broken or to break others? Like so many others my story begins with that same old line, ‘So anyway, there was this woman…. Until one day there wasn’t. And nothing was ever the same after that….’
Every quote, every book, every film seemed to suggest that ‘one day’ someone would come into my life and I would fall in love with an intensity and a passion I had never experienced before. And to their credit they were right; It all came and went so fast it really did feel as if it were just ‘one day’.
I don’t know you. The only thing I know about you is, you’re reading this. I don’t know if your happy or not; I don’t know whether you’re young or not. I sort of hope you’re young and sad. If you’re old and happy, I can imagine that you’ll smile to yourself when you hear me going, she broke my heart. You’ll remember someone who broke your heart, and you’ll think to yourself, ‘Oh yes, I remember how that feels’.
But you can’t. You’ll remember feeling sort of pleasantly sad. You might remember listening to music and eating chocolate in your room, or walking along the embankment on your own, wrapped up in a coat and feeling lonely and brave. But can you remember how with every mouthful of food it felt like you were biting into your own stomach? Can you remember the taste of alcohol, or whatever else you took to drown your sorrows, as it came back up and into the toilet bowl? Can you remember dreaming every night that you were still together, that he/she was talking to you gently and touching you, so that every morning when you woke up you had to go through it all over again?
You can obsess and obsess over how things ended-what you did wrong or could have done differently-but there’s not much of a point. It’s not like it’ll change anything. So really, why worry? You can’t turn love on and off like a light switch, no matter how hard you try. All you can do is wall it off, one brick at a time, until you’ve created an impenetrable fortress around your emotions. And once that fortress is built, you camouflage in it so well that even you can’t see it anymore.
Growth in love comes from a place of absence, where the imagination is left to its own devices and creates you to be much more than reality would ever allow.
However, it’s painful, loving someone from afar. Watching them from the outside. The once familiar elements of their life reduced to nothing more than occasional mentions in conversations and faces changing in photographs. They exist to you now as nothing more than living proof that something can still hurt you with no contact at all.
You think that holding someone hard will bring them closer. You think that you can hold them so hard that you’ll still feel them, embossed on you, when you pull away.Every time I pulled away from her, I felt a gasping loss of her.
The sad part is, that you will probably end up loving them without them for much longer than you loved them when you knew them. Some people might find that strange. But the truth of it is that the amount of love you feel for someone and the impact they have on you as a person, is in no way relative to the amount of time you have known them.
Our plans for the future made us laugh and feel close, but those same plans somehow made anything more than temporary between us seem impossible. It was the first time I’d ever had the feeling of missing someone I was still with.
Her memory feels like home to me. So, whenever my mind wanders, it always finds its way back to her. And no, I don’t miss her. Not in a way that one is missed. But I think of her. Sometimes. In the way that one might think of the summer sunshine on a winter night.
I can’t take not knowing what the next day will bring, the uncertainty is sawing me in two. The room is dark. A flickering candle burns on the window ledge a few feet away. I take a deep breath, which is to say, as deep a breath as I can take.
I lie there reminiscing. I had someone once who made every day mean something. And now I am lost. And nothing means anything anymore. I miss that feeling of connection. Knowing she was out there somewhere thinking about me at the same time I was thinking about her. All I hope is that if she cannot hold me in her arms, then at least she’ll hold my memory in high regard. And if I cannot be in her life, then at least she’ll let me live in her heart. I think perhaps I will always hold a candle for her-even until it burns my hand. And when the light has long since gone, I will be there in the darkness holding what remains, quite simply because I cannot let go.
We think that those we spend the most time with know us. Yet some only notice our presence when we leave. Look for the ones that wait for your footsteps in the silence. These are the ones longing to hear the echoes of your heartbeat strum their soul. It’s the intricate details you miss the most after things go south. For me, it was the soft lines around the eyes when she smiled. Or that look she gave me sometimes that I cannot begin to describe- but I would know it if I saw it again. It was the look that gave her away. I’d know that look anywhere. It used to be my everything.
When you experience loss, people say you’ll move through the 5 stages of grief; denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. What they don’t tell you is that you’ll cycle through them all every day.
Deep grief sometimes is almost like a specific location, a coordinate on a map of time. When you are standing in that forest of sorrow, you cannot imagine that you could ever find your way to a better place. But if someone can assure you that they themselves have stood in that same place, and now have moved on, sometimes this will bring hope.
Grief is shameless; it refuses to be ignored. If you let it have its way, it becomes fatal. If you try to remove it piece by piece, it only multiplies like a tumor. And if you try to fight it, it becomes like quicksand; you try to claw your way back to the surface, and for a second you feel the fresh air against your face, thinking you’ve survived, only to be pulled fiercely back down again, swallowed whole, nothing left.
Saying her name or even a mere thought of her stabs my heart, like someone has ripped through my carefully stitched up world and exposed the infected, pulsing red tissue that I thought was healing.
Time Does Not Bring Relief
Time does not bring relief; you all have lied
Who told me time would ease me of my pain!
I miss her in the weeping of the rain;
I want her at the shrinking of the tide;
The old snows melt from every mountain-side,
And last year’s leaves are smoke in every lane;
But last year’s bitter loving must remain
Heaped on my heart, and my old thoughts abide.
There are a hundred places where I fear
To go, so with her memory they brim.
And entering with relief some quiet place
Where never fell her foot or shone her face
I say, “There is no memory of her here!”
And so stand stricken, so remembering her.
There’s always a moment when you start to fall out of love, whether it’s with a person or an idea or a cause, even if it’s one you only narrate to yourself years after the event: a tiny thing, a wrong word, a false note, which means that things can never be quite the same again. But I cannot get what I did wrong or when that moment was. Neither do I want to relish in the thought that if I had known I would have done something because it will all be naught.
You cannot be with someone just because you don’t want to hurt them. You have your own happiness to think about. And for that reason, I understand why things had to happen this way. I understand her reasons for causing me pain. But mere understanding does not chase away the hurt. It does not call upon the sun when dark clouds have loomed over me. Let the rain come then if it must come! And let it wash away the dust that hurt my eyes!
When you’re missing a piece of yourself, aching, gut wrenching emptiness begins to take over. Until you find the link that completes your very soul, the feeling will never go away. Most people find a way to fill this void, material possessions, a string of relationships, affairs, a flurry of empty hedonistic sex in a quest for revenge against all women, food and so on. But I bare my soul with words for all to see.
Two words. Three vowels. Four consonants. Seven letters. It can either cut you open to the core and leave you in ungodly pain or it can free your soul and lift a tremendous weight off your shoulders. The phrase is: It’s over. When you lose someone, you get used to living day to day without them. But you’ll never get used to the “10 second heartbreak.” That’s the time it takes to wake to full consciousness each day and remember.
The last time I felt alive, I was looking into her eyes. Breathing her air…. touching her skin. Saying goodbye. The last time I felt alive…I was dying.
It’s strange how many ways there are to miss someone. You miss the things they did and who they were, but you also miss who you were to them. The way everything you said and did was beautiful or entertaining or important. How much you mattered.
But as I have come to realize over time, the joy of having something comes from the length of time you have been wanting it, expecting it. Happiness really lies in the expectation. So once you achieve it, it loses its charm for you. Every happiness is imaginary: so long as you don’t possess it, it seems to be abounding happiness. But as soon as it is actualized, it ceases to be happiness; our hands are as empty as before. And then we seek some other object for our desire, and we begin to expect it again. We feel so unhappy without it and imagine that happiness will come with it. And perhaps some will never understand, it is mostly the farewells that unite us, and last in our memory forever, even more than the first meeting.
Everyone we meet has wounds upon their heart. Everyone is waiting for someone to scatter the seeds of love amongst their tears and to be patient enough to wait for their beautiful fragrance of dreams to awaken once more.
They say the truth hurts. And these words hurt more than any I have ever written. But they are the truth-the cold, hard, undeniable truth. Not letting go doesn’t keep her with you. It’s still over. She’s still gone. And nothing will ever change that. But I have always been a stubborn person, broken even, haphazardly held together by little more than my own strength. And so she just seeped in the cracks and mingled with my insides until she became an inseparable part of me. And as painful as that is, it still kind of warms me to know I will always carry a part of her with me.
I write what I write because only in your company can I find solace. Hidden behind the screens speaking my heart from beyond absolved from judgement. I will not stop. Even when my hand hurts because I cannot stop even though my heart hurts.
I feel like my life is made up of tiny puzzle parts that no longer fit together. Imagine working on a puzzle only to find that the final picture can never be complete because one of its pieces is missing. This is exactly what’s happened to my life; it has become impossible to put it back together.
Though these words might never find her, I hope that she knows I was thinking of her today and that I was wishing her all the happiness she can find.
The boy that loved you once.
© C. J. NJOROGE