I couldn’t sleep. The pillow still smelled like her. I wish it didn’t. I’m glad it did. I should have washed the bedding. Or throw it in the trash. Or burned it. But I couldn’t. Once gone, the aroma would be gone forever.
I walked down the stairs. Past the living room. Past the bookshelf, once full of mementos, now naked. Empty. Alone. A box sat against the shelf, holding the mementos, the photographs, the memories. Tokens from another life. A life I’d wanted but no longer could have.
I kept the lights off as I pulled myself something to drink. As I sat at the kitchen table. The less I saw the better. The less I’d be reminded of what I no longer had. Who no longer was there. Dull light cut in through a small window over the sink. Light from a street lamp and the moon twisting together. It caught the metal chair opposite. The usual light blue a pale grey in the light. Everything felt grey. I sipped my drink, my eyes on the empty chair. On the empty house. On my empty heart.
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How long would this feeling last?
Or would it never fully go away?
When love leaves.
For a time love is there. You have it. You can almost hold it. It surrounds you and fills you. When you close your eyes at night it’s there, ushering you to sleep. When you wake it’s there to greet you.
Your heart soars. Above your head. Above the clouds and the sky and the world around you. Love, true love, has no comparable feeling. So when it’s suddenly not there, there’s a long way to fall and you feel every second of it as if it’s an eternity.
You feel your dreams and plans and ideas pulled from your chest. Pulled from your heart, so when it finally comes back to earth its nothing but an empty shell of what you once had.
And now you're left to pick up the pieces. To survive. To move on.
The end comes quickly when your eyes are closed.
When I found the shared emails between my wife and her lover, I felt my life melt away. A trap door somewhere in my body opened and everything fell through. My heart. My soul. I could feel colour drip from my body, as if I were to look in the mirror I’d see a grey, lifeless figure left.
I’d closed my eyes to so much leading up to that point. I wanted to wish everything away. I wanted to bury my head, but burying heads and closing eyes results in nothing but a quick end. The train will still run over what's on the tracks, regardless of if eyes are open or closed.
Reality rarely cares what you want. It didn’t care what I wanted. It left me empty. A space once packed with love suddenly hollow. It left me searching for ways to fill the emptiness.