Houses grow very quiet when love ends. There is memory embedded in walls, thin and peeling. Or thick, choking with plaster. There are sounds and voices that never really leave. Love walks in and makes herself at home. Then love leaves. But leaves messy. Lipstick stains blotted on tissue. Stray hair that untangles itself from brushes. Toothpaste tubes squeezed in the middle, caps left off. As if nobody will ever need toothpaste again.
And the scent. Dear God the fragrance of what was and now isn’t. The once upon a time that didn’t get around to happily ever aftering. The scent of love stains the pillows. The walls reek of you. The sofa stinks of missing. The curtains, the rugs, the damned bed – enough evidence to drive a bloodhound mad. Here you are. There you were. Where are you now?
How many times can you lock up and leave? Where will you go when there is nowhere far enough from love? Love finds you. Her voice curls around you like smoke. You close your eyes and there’s a shoulder blade, a pale flash of neck, you see her spine, the damage of her mouth. Open your eyes. It’s over. You want it back. You close your eyes, will for it to return, and you see her walk away. Your eyes fixed on the wheels of her strolley moving towards the door, away. You’re helpless to stop it. Nothing moves in you. Every muscle defies you. You cannot feel your heart. Are you dead? No, wait. Come back to here. She’s walking. Stop her. No. Let her go. Let her go.
Weeks pass. No, it’s only been three minutes. You’re an asylum. You’re the only one here. You tell them you’re not crazy. That’s what everyone says, they reply. For lunch, you have four antidepressants, two mood stabilisers, an antipsychotic (of course you’re not psychotic. This is just to help you sleep), a sleeping pill. And a vitamin. I’m not insane. I’m just hurting. I’m not fighting, I’m crying for help. Look. Wait, listen.
I’ll do better. I’ll stop wanting needing asking hoping expecting waiting being a child being needy making you my mother making me unwanted. I’ve got my hand inside my guts now, I’m pulling. I have my hand on my heart. I’m pumping my chest. I’m coming back. God there is no other way out of this but through. Come back for yourself. Be here for yourself. You need you. You can be here for you. You can save you. Only you.