Memory is a cruel thing. Something as simple as a whiff of vanilla can take you back to that September three years ago when you were writing in your diary about a guy you just met, lifted your gaze, watched the flickering flame of the French Vanilla Candle you lit up, and wondered how you could describe his eyes. Damn, those eyes. You could drown in them and never come back; it seemed impossible to do them justice just by throwing together a few words. Words didn’t even make sense anymore if they weren’t verbalized by him. And you knew just then how much it was going to hurt. It was going to build you up just to tear you down.
Memories won’t let you go on with your habits. Now you can’t drink green tea anymore, because it makes you think of first dates, cold hands and windblown hair. You didn’t even know you liked green tea before you tasted it on his lips. You found it disgusting until he bent over and he mingled his yesterdays with your tomorrows; his hand on your waist, your head in the clouds. From that day on, green tea has become your favourite; your safe haven, your reminder that a heart can stay warm even when you’re freezing. And you understood just then how much it was going to hurt. It was going to keep you sheltered just to leave you vulnerable.
You have no idea what you liked before he showed up. You can’t remember if you liked Bon Iver before he showed up at your door with a wildflower bouquet and a record. You can’t forget how his smile tugged at your heart and how you fit in his arms like you were made just for him, like something greater than you decided he was the home you needed. Now you can’t listen any Bon Iver song because it reminds you of tangled sheets, deep breaths and strong heartbeats. It reminds you of lost things: lost love and lost innocence. And you realized just then how much it was going to hurt. It was going to stitch every broken part just to rip you to shreds.
You don’t know who you were before him. You can’t recall the exact moment you lost yourself. Did you forget who you were along the way, or was it the first moment you laid eyes on him? Was it the night he told you he fell in love with you, or the night he told you he didn’t love you anymore? Was it the happiness, the smiles, the laughter, or the heartbreak, the sobs, the longing? Where do you begin to look for yourself when you don’t even know what to look for? Now you grasp exactly how much it hurts. You knew you were going to lose him. What you didn’t know is that you were going to lose yourself, too.
You let the heartache consume you. You’ve memorized every heartbreak song. You’ve read every sad poem. You’ve lost count of the times the silence was so loud that your head hurt. You cry, and you scream, but there’s no one there to hear you. The green tea became poison. So you trade it for alcohol that burns down your throat and makes your thoughts spin until you forget everything except his name, because it’s become obsessive scribbling on every piece of paper you find, writing it down over and over again, hoping it will lose its meaning. It hurts so damn much. And the saddest part is that you knew it from the start.
Memory is a fleeting thing. One day, you wake up and you realize you’re fed up of wistful songs. The sad poetry doesn’t make sense to you like it used to. And you feel like making yourself a cup of green tea. You sit on the porch, thinking about how cold hands and wildflowers haven’t crossed your mind in a long time. You feel the melancholy but you don’t feel the longing anymore. It’s bittersweet but it’s not distressing anymore. And for the first time, you think of him and smile. And it dawns on you that it hurts until it doesn’t.