It took a while but I finally put all those things away. The things that reminded me of him. Of us. I put them in a box and inched it up on a shelf, standing barefooted and on tip-toes, pushing the memories of him and I up out of reach; finally out of sight from every day glances.
I should have thrown them away – those little nothings that I still hold onto – rather than put them somewhere for me to stumble upon on some unsuspecting day. But something about them – something about him – keeps me hostage and I find myself hanging on still.
I can’t seem to let go of what could have been; the proof in that box up in the closet – rather than the dumpster – and I make a promise to myself that I won’t sift through the sadness and buy into the blissfully blind beginnings that are captured in there but instead learn from them. They are tangible pieces of a time that was never real – as though I’d dreamt of the sea only to wake up smelling of the ocean; a mirage so vivid that on some days I still can’t discern whether it ever actually happened or not.
Where pictures of Then were once pinned against the wall, new squared photographs of memories with no bitter aftertastes now stare back at me from behind my computer; symbolic four-by-four inch infomercials promising happier outcomes are possible! But I shrug at them dejectedly. Gorgeous sunsets and significant places, my favorite things in snapshots, and my face falls, defeated. Because it’s not the same. It’s not then. It’s not there. It’s not him. It’s not now.