I’m crying before my fingers can find the alarm clock in the darkness.
The tears are an every morning ritual, so I’ve at least gotten to the point that I can control them. I can’t keep them from coming- there’s too much to cry clean for that- but I’ve learned to cry them softly so that my deep, heaving sobs don’t wake up the rest of the house or send me into the throes of a panic attack.
I lay my head back on my pillow and cry, hot, sticky tears sliding back into my hair. I reach for my phone. Radio silence. The tears come harder, faster.
Never a word from his side of the world.
I don’t know how many mornings I’ve woken up this same way. I lost count somewhere after forty. But every morning for those forty days, for however many days have followed, it’s always the same; I wake up with fresh tears streaming down my face, my heart, my stupid fucking heart, already knowing he’s gone before I can fully slide into consciousness. I cry myself dehydrated. And then I get up.
I talk myself through the things I must do to leave the house; I gotta brush my teeth. I gotta wash my face. First a bra. Then pants. Then a shirt. Then shoes.
I pull my heartbreak around my shoulders last, like a shawl. I carry it with me everywhere I go.
I do things during the day. What, I’m not entirely sure, but there are things. I say words. I think they make sense. I do my job and forget to eat. I find swift exits when fresh tears unexpectedly surface. I say an innumerable amount of prayers. I curse my choices. I check my phone.
Around 11am or so, like clockwork the messages start.
I miss you.
I love you.
My stomach flops over on itself, the juice I forced down this morning to stop the weakened trembling of my fingers threatening to make a reappearance on the white marble floor.
I fold things. I type. I clean. I talk to people. I’m alone.
I drag myself home long after the sun has retreated. I’ve cried in the car briefly, anger bubbling up from the pit of my belly and spilling out my eyes so I’m completely spent. The house is dark and silent. So am I.
I sit. I’m so weary. I only manage to take off my shoes before I tuck myself under the covers fully clothed. My eyes grow blurry with new tears and I’m so fucking angry with myself for being this destroyed over another human being.
I dial his number and, as usual, he picks up on the first ring.
His voice, this pet name, sucks all the venom from my tongue and unlike the morning cry, this one is unrestrained.
“I loved you,” I managed over my thick and bumbling tongue and between broken sobs.
Of course he does. I always say the same thing. Sometimes it’s an accusation. Sometimes it’s a question. Sometimes it’s a dagger I hope to gut him with.
But always it’s the truth.
I hang up and he calls back, once, twice, eight times before he slinks back into silence. I burrow my head in my covers knowing how this goes.
I’ll cry myself to sleep, finally passing out on a soaked pillow when my body can no longer manage to carry the weight of this trauma. I will dream, and sometimes I’ll be happy, and sometimes I’ll be angry and sometimes I’ll be running, but he’s always there. And I’ll wake up to the tears that are my only constant companion, the only thing he left me with after so unceremoniously abandoning me.
I can’t live like this, I think to myself. Except I have been, for what must be going on 50 some-odd days now. Please, I plead to god, to whoever’s listening.
I slip my earbuds in my ears, the only song I can bear to listen to on repeat. I cry so long and so hard that each gasping sob feels as though it’ll make my chest cave in. Finally I drift off into a fitful sleep.
I wake up alone. I’m crying before my fingertips can find the alarm clock in the darkness.