This is a tour of the insides of my heart, if my heart was a house that we once shared.
I open the door with my own key. It’s still tied with a green string that used to hold your school ID. I amble through the house in my patterned socks and the shirt we bought after a favorite band’s concert. My tiny shelf is still here, filled to the brim with odds and ends – yours and mine. The closet still houses some of the books that couldn’t come with me when I left. (Some of them have found a home on the kitchen table and even on the floor.) I can see my favorite brand of peanut butter on the pantry and an almost empty bottle of my shampoo in the bathroom. A glimpse of the bedroom lets me know that the colored Post-its are still taped on one side of the wall – a collection of scribbles and doodles and impeccable blahs that brought comfort and reassurance and joy.
And then there’s your room. Herein lies our refuge. It heard us when we howled at the moon. It listened to our whispers and mumbles and rants and whimpers. It saw us as we saw us. For a while, it was our home. You and I, we were safe here.
I look around and I remember legs and arms tangled together. Late-night confessions whispered into each other’s ears. Dinner and a movie in bed when we couldn’t be bothered to go outside. Laughter and serenades. Silence and apologies. Little spoons and parentheses. Your noon, my moon, our dawn. Promises of nevermore and forever.
It is cold here.
I think of you, bundled up in your favorite jacket, wrapped up in memories like scarves, keeping yourself warm to take the edge off the winter of your discontent. My heart winces at the thought, and for a minute I consider stitching us back together. But coming back to this place we once called ours, leafing through sepia-toned pages in my memory house, and getting lost in thoughts of me and you and everything we know allow me to wallow for a moment before standing up to start anew.
Now is the winter made glorious summer by the promise of sun in your eyes and warmth to your bones. Maybe, at this moment, you don’t know how to be okay on your own. Maybe, the truth is, I don’t know how to be okay either. But you’ll be fine, just as I will be fine in the end. You’re enough. I am enough.
The love in this home we’ve built is real. You may be alone right now, but there once was somebody with you before. The unbearable darkness of being apart must have made you wonder how I felt. But I loved you, darling. I did and I do. However, somewhere along the way, I had forgotten that I had to love myself, too.
I pick up my things, look around once more, and let the world stop for a moment. Let the frozen image linger for a moment. Embrace the love and melancholy and wondrous quiet for a moment. Then I turn the lights off, close the door, use the key for the last time, and say goodbye to the place that was once my home.