And every breath we drew was Hallelujah.
I’ve been listening to the songs on the disc you gave me in August. The one I ran over with my car. The one that made you leave and never call again. The one that made you scream “whore” and “jerk” in my face. The one that started our contest – the one we play every day, when we run into each other at the coffee house down the road or in the hall after English, where we fight to see who can pretend to care less.
All these songs that I listen to make me cry. And I know you know, but as the tears fall down, I push them back up. I push them back into their ducts, but they don’t slide in as easily as they do out. They linger in the triangles of my eyes and slip down my nose when I’m not looking. But you always used to catch them didn’t you?
I wrote your name on a crumpled piece of paper that smelled of cinnamon and fall a thousand times, and a thousand times I rolled it back into the crevices of my hands. The words, the sounds, the thoughts, the looks, the sensations – they were all gone. And rightly so. But it felt so good to see your name again.
I tried to imitate your writing, the scrawled, narrow letters that used to make my heart scream. I formed the H in your name perfectly, but everything fell after that and slumped into an ocean of melted memories. I moved my fingers, and I scratched them across the page until I could imitate the A too. Just an H and an A, lonely, dismal, unimpressive. But they looked like yours, and if I closed my eyes for long enough, I started to believe they smelled like you too.
I pulled your old shirt from the box of us I hid in the back of my closet. It still smelled like you. Like green tea and your peppermint cologne. No, not peppermint. You hated when I said that, didn’t you? Just some crap you bought while we were in San Francisco together, planning our lives and living like we always said we would.
I could hear your voice. It resonated and resounded through the roof of my mouth and into my veins. Remember how I used to tell you your voice sounded like the mountains corroborating with the sea? Fluid, calming, strong, brave, safe. I can feel you through my bones. I can feel your voice all around, and it’s not just in my veins anymore. I can hear all the things we used to say to one another, all the things we used to whisper in each other’s ears; I can hear all the “I love yous” we ever said. I love yous that we should have known would never stick. I hear you; tell me you can’t still hear me.
Why are you so hard to forget? It’s never been this bad before. I close my eyes, and your face floats through my eyelids. It’s all I see, and I’m afraid it’s all I’ll ever know. No one’s veins pulse like yours do, no one’s dimples appear when they’re embarrassed like yours do. Just know you’ll always have a piece of me.
But I’m packing up all the crumpled, partially written letters I’ve ever written you. I’m packing up all the pens I’ve used in trying to imitate your writing. I’m packing up your old shirt and the sample swatch of your cologne. I’m packing up your voice, I’m packing up your touch, and I’m packing up your face. I’m packing you up so you can have your whole heart back. So you can find someone you really want to take it, to treasure it, to cherish it.
It’s been 3 months, 21 days, 7 hours.
Nothing’s been the same without you.
3 months, 21 days, 7 hours.
I’m done counting.
So open the box, inhale my smell, and keep telling yourself you’ve moved on.
Love is not a victory march; it's a cold, and it's a broken Hallelujah.