Last night I dreamt that he loved me again and everything was right in my world. When I awoke, the shock of that fiction was so that it felt like he had broken my heart all over again. The cheery mood with which I had woken shattered and underneath it a dark, gloom revealed itself. The gloom which has been my companion for weeks now and shows no signs of shedding until I shed my ex-love from my mind, a hellish task I am not yet able to accomplish.
I’m plagued by ghostly memories of him and no matter how hard I try, I cannot exorcise them. I try to remember how I dealt with previous rejections, but my thoughts always end up in the middle of a crazy idea: I should park myself outside his apartment, I think, and wait for him to walk home. Maybe just seeing him once more will be enough to scrape him from my heart. If seeing him once more doesn’t work, then I can make repeat trips. I can wait across from his building and just watch for his lanky form to glide across, unaware of his own beauty. Maybe I will become one of those people from the movies who pulls shit like this and is simultaneously ridiculed and pitied, but if it helps me, then who cares, right? I just need to be free.
But what if I’m parked here and he shows up with another woman? What if I see him disembark the streetcar with her and guide her to his building, his arm around her waist like it was once around mine, a smile playing his lips like it once did for me? My imagination tells me I would sprint across the street and pounce on her, tackling her to the ground and revealing my violent hate for my broken heart by attacking this innocent woman who has unknowingly taken my place. He would easily pull me off — his six-feet-four form no match for my tiny five-feet-two — and demand to know what the fuck I think I’m doing. And I wouldn’t be able to answer. I would just weep and he would be disgusted with me and my inability to control my emotions.
My common sense paints a different picture: I would see him escort her to his apartment and the parts of my heart which had started to heal would shatter anew while I remained sitting on the curb across from his building. The lit cigarette would die in my hand, burning the tips of my fingers and I would not care. I would wait with my stomach in knots, watching the lights of his bedroom window flicker off and not turn on again for the rest of the night. I would watch as neither he nor the girl left until early in the morning at which point I would sulk home to my bed and remain there.
Nights are the worst, though. At sundown, the entire city becomes terrified of being alone and they team up and settle into pairs, groups or parties where they are made to feel like they belong. Their loneliness is solved by acceptance, but it’s something I’ve never been able to accomplish. When the sun sets, so does my mood. With the dark skies come darker thoughts which fester and grow the longer I am forced to be my own company. I sometimes spend the evenings in various bars, wasting the last of my savings on drinks, vaguely aware of the fact that my unemployment makes this a stupid habit. But I need the balm, the liquid courage, to face my unhappy life. I am not an alcoholic, though: I can live without alcohol I just choose not to. Something pipes up in the back of my mind retorting, “That’s exactly what alcoholics say” and I wonder if it’s true.
Sometimes I manage the company of some mediocre man who flatters me and picks up my tab. We sleep together and he lets me lie on his chest for a few minutes after, and for that short time I feel all right. The sex endorphins and the remaining buzz from the alcohol lulls me into a dreamless sleep, making it the only time I’m content. In the morning, when I wake, I am alone again.
I cannot bring myself to take down the framed photo of him that sits on the bookshelf across from my bed. It is the first thing I see every morning and, when I’m sober, the last thing I see at night. In the photo he is laughing so casually, something that is rare for him and rarer still to be caught on film. The most apparent — and my favourite — thing about the portrait are his dimples. They are like dents in his face, as someone once described them. Shortly after he spurned me, I sent him a drunk text saying, “Your dimples and your eyes. I could write a poem about them.” He did not respond and I am not sure if I am glad for it or not.
My friends say this will all pass. They try to cheer me up by telling me that he wasn’t that great anyway, that I can do better and that I deserve better. I know they’re right, but they don’t realize that their words do not help. It’s not even the fact that he rejected me that has me in turmoil, it’s simply the fact that I was rejected at all. My ego has taken a massive blow and I understand that with time the mortification will pass, but coping with that passing of time is a feat I am having trouble accomplishing.
So, for now, my mornings will consist of startled jumps from sweet dreaming to melancholy reality and nights will be fables about irresponsible drinking and promiscuity. “What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger” they tell me, but all I can think is that the man who initially spouted this proverb ended up going mad himself.