The day inches towards an end. I still have dishes to do. It’s the middle of December. I imagine the water is cold, but for no reason in particular, I decide against wearing gloves as I start doing the dishes. It’s an important task, of course. My insistence on never leaving dishes for the next day still gets the better of me. I start to have another one of those conversations with myself—with you. If I could count the number of times I’ve stood with the ghost of you in my lamplit apartment, bargaining, I’d probably live out my days counting. Truth be told, I haven’t thought of you in ages. If nothing else, I haven’t bargained.
I still talk in metaphors—nothing new—but I often talk about grief without someone realising it at all. I speak about feeling at home in crooked corners of crowded coffee shops. I write about doing the dishes with freezing water running between my fingers. I describe my flaneurism with ardent romanticism when it merely has been a way to wait for you for the longest time. Of course, I am now ready to admit the fact—of how I have left my life on hold for years, holding out a hand to the sordid universe you preached about all the time.
I know I could still talk my life away talking about you. I could write a thousand letters and waste my words, over and over. I could detest you or be angry at fate only to begin scarring the world in my own twisted way. Or I could accept the truth staring at me. The truth is I wasted years loving someone who did not love me back. I spent my days building a future that never came to pass. I built the foundation of a life I’ll never have for no particular fault of my own—barring the fact that I held love for someone who didn’t love me enough or perhaps, at all.
But a human being was no place to hold that grief or any at all.
This one, well, was grief as old as time. Almost everyone carried it, day after day until they forgot it on the seat of a train or someone’s coffee table or in a broken bottle at the local bar. Until then, one could only hope to fall asleep on time. Laughing through the day required a proper amount of rest, naturally.
As for me? Well, I haven’t tossed and turned in bed for months.