Playing Hide And Seek With Memories Of You.
I have a new routine, in a new home, in a new town, with a new job… but somehow, you’re still everywhere.
I try not to let myself think about you, and I actually don’t dwell on us as much as I used to… but you’re still there — in the back of my mind — waiting to be remembered.
A word. A song. A joke. A smell. A memory.
Silly that I thought I could forget you.
Silly that I thought I could run away from the feelings in my heart and the thoughts in my own head.
It’s not fair that you’ve never even seen my new home, but there are pieces of you still here.
Hiding in the dark shadows, your ghostly memories haunt me in the most unexpected of places. Standing boldly in the morning sunlight, your souvenirs stare me down and call my name.
I tell myself that tomorrow will be better. I keep trudging through the clutter of memories that fill my mind waiting for my new setting to take over and fill the empty corners.
But, ever so suddenly, when I least expect it, there you are. And then I think I must not have any vacant space left. It’s quite possible that you fill every nook and every cranny of my being.
How is it even possible that you can take up so much of me?
How is it possible that when everything about my life has changed, this — this — is still the same?
No matter how far I’ve traveled away from what I thought were the triggers, the ammunition still lingers within me.
No matter how hard I try to stuff it down and hide it, the weapon continues to resurface, and suddenly I’m staring down the barrel of the gun… again. And boom.
I lose all of the breath in my lungs, and feel the most empty and desperate feeling I’ve ever felt in my life.
But sometimes I smile. Sometimes out of nowhere, I grow immensely happy and laugh out loud when I think about you.
I was walking the dog (I do that a lot when I start to get sad and think of us) and it was a windy day and I didn’t want to walk the dog. So, I told myself that the next time (and each time) I think of you, I’ll make myself do 20 pushups.
Then I remembered the time we challenged each other to do pushups. And how much you struggled with them. And how much we laughed. And I caught myself standing outside, alone, and laughing.
It felt good. To laugh at a memory of us, instead of cry. It made me happy that we happened. Instead of resentful that we didn’t.
They say time heals all pain. So, I cannot run away from this. I cannot hide from it. I just have to live it. Every day. Each moment. And wait. And pray.
But then what? I cannot, for the life of me, figure out what tomorrow looks like without you. I can’t imagine what a feeling feels like without you to share it with. I pray for peace. But peace feels so lonely.
I found an old notebook and reread the very first thing I’d ever written about you. About us. About our unfortunate situation.
“As much as this feeling hurts, I don’t want it to go away. I’m afraid of the emptiness I’ll feel — like waking up and discovering it was only a dream.”
So maybe I don’t want to forget you. Maybe I’m secretly still looking for you. Hoping desperately to find you in a place you wouldn’t (couldn’t) even know to hide. It’s likely that I’ll continue to torture myself with this game forever.
Just so that I can feel. Just so that I won’t forget. Just so that I can have a piece of you forever. And never be alone again.
Elizabeth Mattingly is a seeker of adventure who also desires the comfort of routine. She is an avid hiker, a lazy runner, a mother of three teenagers, a writer, and an unfortunate romantic. Her blog began as a way of dealing with a diagnosis of cardiomyopathy, and has continued on as her guiding force through all of her figurative heartbreak after divorce, dating, and life.