I wrote this while still in college. I like it, I’m just putting it here so that I don’t lose it. I’m going to post a couple of these, just for fun. Just to save.
Semi-fictional. I wrote it after I had lunch with an ex, where upon getting in my car I wondered why the hell I had lunch with my ex in the first place. I suppose it was that moment we all have after we’ve entirely exhausted all emotions for a person and we realize we really have moved on.
It was a new sensation for me. I used to be one of those girls who waited and cried herself to sleep hoping the person would magically start caring again. It always seemed like it took forever to move on. I wasn’t able to stop caring. I can do that now, not immediately, but after some time the feelings do fade and life stops feeling impossible.
Oh how badly this needs editing, hah.
Anyway. Here ya go.
They say that a limb will ache for years after it’s been detached from the body. An amputee will feel the tingle of their toes when their leg ends at the knee. Your shoulder will itch when the bone is not there, and never will be there again.
The heart has phantom limbs too, I think.
I remember how much it hurt: It was as if the pain extended like an arm from within my rib cage, red and raw, reaching up to my throat and strangling me. My eyes watered. I screamed in a drunken stupor: How can you just stop loving someone? while I tangled myself around the fluffy pink rug in my new apartment, a phone in my hand making calls I shouldn’t have made after two bottles of wine and a very broken heart and a world that was suddenly so impossible.
This night the pain was far away, but I felt like I could still feel it humming. Sitting across from him, discussing our lives and where they were now. You hurt me, once, my brain said quietly as I separated my salad into the things I liked best, in order: avocado, beets, tomato. He even looked different.
And so we made the small talk that people make when they have nothing in common anymore besides a single year together that happened a while ago.
Don’t be the least bit annoyed that he’s an hour late, I told myself. Don’t flinch when he doesn’t remember a movie you saw together, only vaguely wonder if he’s seeing someone new, laugh about things that are funny, and don’t be nervous. You know each other too well to be nervous, even if it’s been a while. You’re not the crazy girl that made that phone call, you’re not. you’re not. you’re not. Let him see it?
Look how well I’m doing. Look how better I am without you… Am I doing this right?
The arm that used to strangle me began to itch a little, the lightest of fingers brushing across my throat, not because you miss him, I reminded myself. It was almost worse, somehow. It’s because you don’t miss him, I realized.
And somewhere, sometime before I’d eaten all the beets I hear the answer I screamed in my heartbreak months before: How do you just stop loving someone?
How?—You just do. It’s slow, never all at once, but you just do. And you can’t even remember when or how it happened.
The missing limb tingles sometimes, but it’s fuzzy and far away and long, long gone.