There’s something interesting that happens when everything is over. When you are no longer a unit, a We. When you are no longer lovers that spent hours exploring the expanse of each other’s skin, laying claim to caverns and secret plains only you had discovered. When there is no longer a smile in your heart at a fleeting thought of them. When the warm timbre of your voice that rang in a pitch reserved solely for them no longer rings true in your ears.
It is a letting go. A covenant that has been broken. The intimacies whispered across miles and pillows, the promises spilled from swollen lips between kisses, are things you used to say when you lived in Then. But once you pack all the memories up in boxes to be stored out of sight, and move in to Now, all of those vows seem silly. Fruitless. Empty.
It is an unlearning. Unlearning the weight of a hand in your hand. Forgetting the special chemistry of their scent, reminding yourself not to listen for their laugh in a crowd. It is deprogramming yourself from allowing them to be the default shoulder you lean on. Disremembering the exquisite pleasure of your skin underneath paintbrush of their fingertips or the warmth of their mouth. It is no longer reaching across dunes of empty covers for them at night. It is learning to soothe yourself when their absence pains you, when their presence leaves you lonely. Pretending as though you never once swore to exist in the chaos with them, vowed to belong to them. As though pretending will wash you clean.
It is a surrender to the inevitability of becoming strangers, of seeing each other one day out in the world you once squirreled away from in favor of spending hours intoxicated with each other, and barely remembering who you were when the two of you were We. It is the silences strung between the polite words and wry smiles, belying a sea of wistfulness churning in your gut. It is like carrying around with you a grave filled with all the nothing you became, each memory a headstone promising there is something beneath but finding nothing.
It is the acknowledgement that there was a failing, yours or theirs, that there is no me and you. Just pages of prose and a profusion of promises that turned out not to be true.
There is in abundance an incredible weighted sadness when everything has been said. And there is nothing else to be done.