She decided to give up living; rather than turn 32.
I’ve heard of quarter life crisis.
I’ve heard of people dreading turning 30.
But at 32?
I wish she’d spoken about it, of whatever it was that was bothering her. All those drives and parties and the morning afters; all of them just memories now.
I miss her. Even how frustrated she’d made me feel. With her constant need for validation. Yes! She was smart. Yes, she was good. Yes, she was fun and funny.
You wouldn’t know just by looking at her, and now I wonder at times if I knew her at all. Confident. Bold. Scared. Bull-headed. So many facets to her.
I knew, though, all of her ugly. And I loved her. That surprised her. I know because she told me that; quite often too. I never made to question my reasons for loving her. I felt what I felt and that was that. It wasn’t a blind she-can-do-no-wrong kind of love. But it was a blind I’ll hold a candle as long I live kind of love.
I remember the first time I saw her. She was smiling indulgently at the chap trying to flirt with her. He thought he was making a mark until I swooped in and charmed her with my nonchalance. She knew it was an act. She knew just how much I wanted her even then. But she played along until the chap moved on. And then she thanked me, just before she called me an impostor and churlish and so many other words I don’t think I heard right! How we made it past that is beyond me.
She wasn’t interested in a relationship, in anything permanent. I didn’t either. But with her, I did not care what I got. I just wanted something. The first time she stayed over she laid out a set of rules. I just laughed them off. The first time we went away together, she told me about her past relationships. Boy, that hurt. The first time I told her I wanted more, she laughed it off. I didn’t back down, though. I kept telling her I wanted more over a few months until she snapped. That was the most frustrating, jaw crunching, oh-God-just-kill-me-now-instead-argument I ever had in my whole life, and I am not one to back down from an argument. Ever.
She threw me out of her house and did not talk to me for ages. There was a static silence that seemed to stretch to eternity. I knew I had to do something and fast. She didn’t realize it was me when she opened her door. Her face expressionless, she said, I’ll give you a minute. Maybe it is not meant to be forever, I said. But it is my forever, for now. Why not wait and see where this goes, and let’s take it from there, one day at a time? Wow! She said. Smiling and shaking her head. You fit all the clichés you could in there!
Well, she did say all I had was a minute!
And that was that. I was surprised at how little it took for things to fall back in place.
It’s been 5 years since she’s been gone. 5 years since I last kissed her, held her hand or felt alive. I began to socialize again, though most people would snigger at me for calling what I did as socialize. I know they’re right.
There are people everywhere, but my heart is simply not in it. The music, the laughter, the lights; nothing feels quite right to me. Without her, there’s something missing, quite like the mildly brewed tea that’s lacking in flavor.
I see the couples on the dance floor. I see the haphazard groups around me, chatting, catching up on life. There was a time when they would involve me in the conversation. That has stopped now. I feel as though I’m a tiny droplet in the ocean, dying to reach the shore, but never quite make it.
I look around, wondering if I should initiate or join a group, but my mind is blank. I can’t think of a single thing to say. I smile at a distant memory of us holding hands. Of lying in her lap listening to music and looking at the lights. She was big on lights and the ‘atmosphere’ and would go on about it for days after we’d been to a great place. Just that thought lightens me.
I wonder if I’ll ever get over her. If I’ll ever stop comparing; about how things were more interesting with her. I wonder if I’ll ever move on. I wonder how long I will continue using her memories as a crutch to stand in for life.
I look around and see Lea. Dating her was nice. Months of dating and all I could come up with to describe her with is ‘nice’.
Being with Lea was easy, and fun too. But the more I let Lea into my life; the more I felt ‘her’ slipping away from me. And no way in hell was I going to allow that. So what did I do? Run away. Stood her up a few times when she persisted. Was curt in my responses. I knew it affected her. I knew I’d hurt her. But wasn’t anything I could have done about it. I simply wasn’t ready to let go. And I don’t think I ever would. There was no one I would let invade my life again.
She consumed me more than ever. I knew what life held. I knew I could move on. But I did not want to. I wanted her memory to haunt me, to consume me, to devour me. Was that really so bad?
The idea of dying is something I have thought of, often. It would be easy too. No one would even realize I was gone for some time at least. And then maybe they’d say “Maybe they found each other. Maybe they’re together now”.
But would I see her again? Find us again? I did not believe in life after death. Not even in souls wandering away in infinite space. Death was just darkness and nothingness. Sometimes I thought of her sitting across from me, feet tucked in, lost in her thoughts. I always wanted to ask her what she thought about at times like these, but I did not want to distract her. It is one of my favorite memories of her. Just her and me, together and alone.
Will I be able to gather these thoughts if I were to die? I still want to think of her, about her. I crave her presence; to hold her once again. I want to see her one more time, swaying to the music as she stood on the balcony. I want to pleat everything we had, bring the memory to right now, just so I can feel her presence around me, whenever my heart wanted.