The shortest month of the year is just about over. When you’ve been thrown away and flicked aside without a lick of care by the person you were spending your life with – “getting over it” is not a simple template to follow. There isn’t a period of standard sadness that it’s over. You don’t have bittersweet and fond memories of the life you felt content with. You can’t say “it just didn’t work out,” or “I hope he finds happiness” or stay in touch with his family and other friends. All of those people think you were the problem. Because he said so. He planted the seeds about how unstable and deficient you were as a partner to his noble humanness long before he walked away for good. He was prepared for this. He prepared for it. He was ready. To throw you in the trash at any time, any day – just as the others had been.
Nothing was standard at all. Completion can’t and will not exist. So you’re left with zillions of recollections, images, melodies and moments that need to be removed from the part of your brain that cherishes keepsake experiences. They don’t belong there. And yet, it’s an often daily battle inside mine to stop holding on to all of it as special, joyful memories of the last four years. You thought he was truly in love with you. And you were wrong.
I don’t have the slightest capacity to detach completely from someone or something in a moment – as he does and did. I didn’t delete anything, as he did (everything). The hundreds of images and moments we shared with the world are still out there – with my name on it, and some even with his name (although certainly not publicly as he unlinked all of those).
What do I make of these memories I have with the man I thought loved me? They flow in and out unexpectedly. They flood my dreams. They follow me to the most unrelated spaces. I can’t outrun them. I can’t un-think them. I’ve tried.
I don’t think I will ever be able to tolerate listening to Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud,” a particular song of ours. I tossed the sweater I wore on the evening of his surprise party that I coordinated for him – it was too bright, too big a reminder of all my planning and interacting with his friends and family. My heart pulses when I see his car model on the road. Not sure I will ever enjoy the sound of an accordion again. Upstate New York is off limits for the immediate or medium-term future. Most of New Hampshire is too. I will avoid any kids bouncy house, arcade, bowling lanes, the Museum of Science, all nature centers that we had family memberships to. 7-11’s scream slushies for the kids, jungle gyms make my stomach turn, just the word distillery upsets me, and us and baby and home. Can’t stand the sight of beards, and plaid and bright sneakers like the ones I purchased over and over again for him. I will not find meaning in collecting rocks again. And so so so so many more things.
The motherfucking stars are revolting because of his obsession with space, and the wishes I made with him.
Everything good you’ve ever believed about human beings is contradicted. Every thought you’ve had about loyalty, experience, and truthfulness is denied. Every trope you’ve heard about marriage, love, and partnership is hammered into silence. Every idea you’ve had about human connection is trashed by the narcissist’s behavior. You’re not recovering from love lost or even the failure of a marriage but from warfare.
This will soon be the longest year. But not the darkest.