When she sits down on the couch with you, holds your hands, and looks you in the eye, you will not have to guess what’s coming next. After all, you’ve been expecting this for months, waiting in agony for this day to come. The love has already flickered off. She will be gentle and kind, like she always has been, but in the end, you will have to sleep at your friend’s apartment that night. Your friend will comfort you by telling you the stories behind their tattoos again, and drinking wine with you. Eventually, they will get tired, and so will you. Their spare room is large enough for your thoughts to run free. For the next two hours, your heavy eyes will be held up by jumbled and confused questions, and the last thought that flashes in your mind before sleep wins is the beginning of accepting a lie: tomorrow will be better.
You will wake up in that unfamiliar bed, back aching and sore, and wonder where you are and who you went home with this time. Memories of last night fade into view as you crawl out of bed and into the bathroom. Your friend will have already gone to work, and with no one there to confirm your story, you will doubt your memory; after all, you are getting older. Besides, sometimes dream weavers can lie.
It will take you two days and a phone call to realize that you’ve been fantasizing your life away again. You will have to go back to the house you two lived in for years, and she will have painfully laid your things around the living room. She will look lupine and sleepless. You will wander the house in unfamiliar disbelief, and leave shaking.
On the ride home, your vision will blur with tears you never thought you’d offer her. The questions will start, and the car will be too lifeless to answer. Another friend will invite you to lunch with them, and will wisely give you space. You will tell them it how much hurts, and sob under your sunglasses. You will beg with them to answer the impossible questions of “why?” and “where did I go wrong?” No matter what advice or support they give, you will only seem to hear, “sometimes, things just happen; you just have to let it be.”
They will go back to your friend’s house with you, and will hold you on their couch as you choke and vomit and cry. You won’t want to hit your thighs with your fists. You won’t want to feel like you’re going to burst if you don’t scream. You won’t want to punch a hole in your friend’s wall.
Thank god you aren’t that strong.
Every friend you have will constantly remind you that you knew this was going to happen months before it even did, but it will not matter to you. You will invite her to go shopping with you, which will naturally lead to dinner, which she will instinctively pay for because you paid for the one six weeks ago. You will laugh the entire time with her, just like you used to, and things will feel like they used to. You will go home with her, and both of you will fall asleep in that old bed.
The next day, you will wordlessly leave the house you two lived in for years. As you drive home with a throbbing head and a chest full of shame, you will ask the moon goddess you always pray to if you can have your lover back. Will the Moon want your hunger, your thirst, or your prayers? Does She want something meaningful, like a song or a painting? Could you dance for Her, cover your forehead in lavender and jasmine?
What can you give the moon so She will allow your lover to come back to you?
The cycle is still spinning three weeks later. You will go back and forth between houses: hers at night, your friend’s during the day. You daydream, you rage, you will starve yourself again. You imagine, you scream, and then, you will be in her bed.
One morning, you will not be able to move your body when you wake up. There are no fantasies. There is no crimson in your head. The empty container of jasmine is resting on the carpet. The weight of what you’re running from will not crash into you that day. You are simply exhausted. There is nothing left to give. Your friends will call every hour, checking on you, and you will remind them that they are the greatest friends anyone could have. You will curl into a ball, too tired to even cry, and lay there, seeing waves splash on the beach distantly above you.
One afternoon, you actually sit up, then walk to the bathroom to finally shower. With eyes sunken in and hair like sunrays, you will hold your forehead and hope that you come out of the shower feeling clean. The water will help wash away the sweat. It will not wash away the sadness.
One evening, you will sit at the table with the friend you owe rent to. They will talk about everything but love. They will ask you for new tattoo ideas, and you will suggest getting ones that match. The rest of the evening will be spent reminiscing in an attempt to find some meaningful symbol.
One night, you will actually sleep and not wake up from a nightmare, and insomnia will not hold you. You will rise with the sun. You may even admire the colors of the sky.
Your friends will celebrate a birthday at a bar, and you will make shy eye contact with some girl all night. None of your friends will nudge you to talk to her, but they will wait with hopeful breath, and exhale when you finally walk over to her and, with the most tender intentions, ask her about herself.
Claire Hansen is a poet, semicolon addict, and psychology student. She has a passion for language and self-expression. She tweets @words_by_claire.