It’s caught in my memory, the exact moment I realized we were over. The exact moment I understood that there would be no salvation, no righting of a terrible wrong, no admission of a dreadful mistake. I feel like it was yesterday, that exact moment I realized I was being cut off from you as though I was a ruined, infected limb left unattended to on its tree long enough to spread harm and disease. But I was not, am not, diseased, harmful. I was a perfectly functional limb suddenly being severed and left to fall. But this truth did not matter, still does not matter, and never will matter.
In that moment, I felt the cold shock of icy blood run through my forehead, numbing it. I felt the heaviness of unshed tears ballooning in my throat, the same throat that fused shut as though to keep a dam of feelings and words at bay. I felt the freezing, wet dripping of sweat trickle down my spine. One part of my brain knew it was over even as a larger, loud part protested – without words. And, how odd, I think now, I felt the heavy, pressing ache in my chest akin to the one that manifests while watching a loved one suck in her painful last breaths with the utmost difficulty. I remember that moment because I had no choice in it. There never seems to be any choice in those, the worst moments. This time was different though, it was even more unnecessary, if that was even possible. Apparently it was all because of me – my actions, my words. At least on the surface. That was what I was supposed to agree to but the edges of that alleged truth were foggy and hard to define. The repercussions vast and unclear. And all I knew to do was sit there and watch, to accept, like those other deaths. Somehow, somewhere along the way, I must have learned that to maintain ones dignity in times of unspeakable horror is the measure of a woman. That to sit and accept whatever is doled out by those with authority is proper. But it was wrong. So wrong to take you from me. That was the real horror, do you know that? Do you know that above all that is nearly unbearable now, your absence in my life and mine in yours – that is the tragedy in this chapter?
I remember you so clearly. Nearly every day I think of you, even as I try to stamp out those thoughts. I loved you even when I hated you. And sometimes I did walk that precarious line between love and hate; I suspect we all do when it matters. Mostly, however, I gave myself to you without regret. It seems as though I spent a lifetime of energy on you and devoted myself to you, often at considerable expense to myself. Still, that was my choice, and did not seem wrong. It was what I did, and did well, I say, for the very little that is worth. Then, like any good heist, suddenly you were taken from me, ripped away from me without warning. Apparently I was bad for you – but far worse – for those you represented and protected. They said. But this is not about them, or their blatant lies and twisted truths. Perhaps somewhere, someday, karma will intervene, but that is of no consequence to me. This is not even about me – the part I played, my abject humiliation, nor my surrounding feelings. This is about you and our end. And how I feel, directly, about that.
It has been nearly a year and I know that we are over, you and I. I also know that I must accept that, under or around the disgrace, the lies, the regret, and my need for vindication. I shall never have that, any more than I shall ever have you again. And yet, I have refused to admit, even to myself that I loved you; that you meant far more to me than security and habit. Until now. And, although I have written these words today, please understand that I do not wish to speak, think, or feel them again. I want to bury my love for you in a box, under miles of sand and the heaviest of rock; and then again under tons of mortar and grout. You see, to admit my love for you makes your loss even greater, and so much harder to bear. It is similar to so many things; it is easier to pretend you did not matter to me. Easier to let their assumptions lie unchallenged. That way they did not take nearly the rest of everything away from me. Not if you didn’t matter.
I dream about you now. Sometimes they are just dreams and all is as it should be again, until I wake up and remember. Most often, however, they are nightmares that leave me shaken, unsettled, and empty. And I awake realizing I want to cry an ocean of tears for your loss even after all this time. Funny that: I want to erase your very existence, deny and reject you; and I want to cry for you in the same moment. My life without you seems pathetic and odd. I wasn’t ready. I am never ready. Perhaps so many years are too many to get over. So now I just wait for the pain to end. And I know the root of that pain was not contained in those pages. It is your absence, your removal, my ban from you. And so I punish myself; that is my choice now. I am not brave enough to start over again, to open myself again. I won’t, if only because I cannot take any more of those moments. You see, I remember the exact moment I realized we were over.
So farewell my friend. For certain you will never know all that you meant to me.