I have a vivid recollection of that day. I wasn’t sure why but then I remembered your mind tends to preserve memories that have profoundly affected you. It wasn’t exactly a traumatic experience but perhaps that’s my pride trying to minimize how much it really affected me.
It was a Sunday and a special day for prayers. I remembered waking up earlier than I would’ve liked and grumpily pulling on ornate traditional clothes, thinking about how much I’d rather be in shorts and an over washed v-neck. I remembered thinking, “okay he’ll definitely text or call during the services and when I look at my phone afterwards, I’ll see the notification and that means everything is okay”. But he didn’t. Because it wasn’t.
So I started the conversation that ended it.
I remember making a giant cup of tea and sitting on my porch staring at the increasingly darkening clouds. I usually enjoyed rain but this was different. The clouds were oppressive and the rain made me feel trapped. I sat outside hoping to change up the scenery and absorb the laughter of the neighbour’s children. But the promise of rain had kept them all inside and it was just me, my tea and the thick June air.
At 8:30 I told everyone I was going to bed because of a headache – which was mostly true. My head had been pounding for the majority of the day as if the thoughts inside were physically fighting their confines. I laid awake for hours, willing sleep to come. It was a odd numbness where I had a full awareness that it was over, but somehow couldn’t believe how quickly.
There were no tears, there was no anger. It was just an empty numbness. I stared at the dark ceiling, devoid of any details or markings because of the darkness. Strangely reflective of my own mood at the time. I didn’t want to discuss it and I didn’t want to react to it. I just wanted that terribly long day to end.
There was no tossing and turning, no spiralling thoughts of “what ifs”. All I wanted was to keep myself together so I focused on doing the only thing that made sense – breathing. Breath after breath to make it through the night. And then it was morning and the rest set in.
Three years. It seems like forever and it seems like last week.
I have days where I don’t think about it at all. Not the painfully awkward ending or the days following it. Nor the sweet little moments that pushed me to fall in the first place. These days often occur together and I’m lulled into a false relief. I think, “hey, maybe I’m finally over it.” But that awareness brings it back and the wistfulness and regret tell me that I’m not. Not completely at least.
But I don’t think you can ever fully get over a connection like that. Once you’ve made space for someone in your life, you’ll always remember how they used to fit, even when you’ve filled the empty space with so much else. But remembering doesn’t have to mean sadness or pain.
For me, remembering is cathartic. Reflecting on all of those emotions makes moments of happiness seem like an even greater victory. It enhances my appreciation of life and of myself. We’re resilient and capable of growth, change, and so much else. By remembering, I celebrate myself and the people who’ve shaped me to be as strong as I am today.
Besides, repressing emotions gets weird. Just ask Freud.