A world without him

12 Aug

Yesterday I looked through some of my old word documents, the ones with interesting titles. One stopped me: “Heartbreak.” I opened it, and read through. I described in it how I felt after a guy in my life told me he wasn’t interested in me anymore, romantically or otherwise. We had been talking on the phone, oftentimes for hours, for many weeks. We met in college, right before I graduated, when I left Michigan to come back home to Buffalo. I remember well that place I was in then, something so extreme and unlike anything I’d experienced before. I did everyday things, completing two internships, one at a newspaper and the other at a magazine. I ate, slept and woke in the morning. But nothing was the same. I remember crying for hours, the tears staining my face. I remember being that pathetic girl—happiness wrapped around a boy—I never thought I would be. Then again, it was the first, and only, time I’d fallen in love. In this piece of writing I attempt to empty myself of some of the pain I felt by putting it on paper. Suddenly I was there—two years after it happened—rushed back into the madness of it. I had forgotten, mercifully, the pain of it all. Isn’t memory in itself a porous thing a type of grace? Imagine never forgetting. Yet I remember wanting to remember everything, remember him, because if I didn’t, he’d then truly be gone forever. The thoughts were painful, but they reminded me it was real. He happened. Reading through the document, I remembered—most vivid of all—how tasteless the world had become in those months following rejection. I remember being curled into a tight ball on the bottom bunk of the bunk bed I once shared with my little sister, numb to all feeling except that deep, clinging pain writhing in my stomach, like someone was twisting it and wouldn’t let go. I hurt somewhere I didn’t know could hurt, from someplace I hadn’t known existed. A world without him in it I couldn’t imagine; I didn’t want. He had shown me what it means to love, had made me laugh, had me smiling and, best of all, dreaming of a life stretching out before us: All we had to do was take it, together. I lay there in that bed, the world a dull color gray, feeling like the thing that made me alive, life itself, had been sucked from me. In the weeks following, I moved through my days wondering how I’d ever enjoy the things I once enjoyed, reading, cooking, taking walks. All I wanted was something I could no longer have, him. Here I am, two years later, reading all this, remembering, feeling the ghost phantom pain, still there somewhere but no longer intimate, clawing into me. It’s true that time heals. It’s the best healer. One day I felt like reading again—began reading Annie Dillard—and discovered in her words something that made me feel once again alive, like I was getting filled back up. I tried new recipes, began cooking gourmet dishes for my family just because I could, and I wanted to. I took the dogs for a walk. I cleaned. I went to work. I discovered grace where I hadn’t thought—in the passing of time—so that, eventually, I became full and happy in a world without him.

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One Response to “A world without him”

  1. Grayquill August 12, 2011 at 5:01 am #

    It is true, the passing of time dulls our memory, how did you say it? “Imagine never forgetting” and “Isn’t memory in itself a porous thing a type of grace?” Well written truths…
    Good Post!

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