Too Much

October 25, 2010
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He lied in his bed with his hands folded behind is head. His pillow was cool on the back of his hands. His ribcage slowly rose and fell. His cheeks puffed out as he exhaled. He was releasing his decision. He was trying to force himself to make a decision, but he couldn’t. He looked at the ceiling and stared at the paint. It was silent. Every time he blinked, he saw her. The room could have started spinning and he would not have noticed because he was so focused on the paint.
He rolled over onto his stomach and buried his head in his pillow. His forehead made a lasting impression comparable to that of a valley between mountains. He twisted his face as if he could rub off his pain and just leave it in that valley. Let it live there until rain clouds came and washed it away. Let it live there until stampedes of animals trampled it beneath the earth. Let it live there until the mountains eroded and covered it all up. Let it live there until it was dead.
He could not surmount it. He could not fight it off. He could not get rid of it. He knew he had to talk to her, but he didn’t know how. He knew what he had to say, but he didn’t know what he wanted to say or how to say it. He clenched his eyelids trying to force out tears as if they would help him think. As if crying was his solution to this pain. No tears came. He did not want to leave her.
He shifted to his back again and folded his hands on his stomach. He looked back at the paint. He closed his eyes and saw her. He saw her crying. He saw her running away from him, holding her face. He saw her heart breaking. He saw it literally burst out of her chest and crack before his eyes. He saw the blood streaming onto his shirt and burning it like acid. He saw the blood burning his skin. He saw the blood burning his hands so he could no longer touch her. He saw the blood burn his ears so he could no longer hear her. He saw the blood burn his nose so he could no longer smell her. He saw the blood burn his lips so he could no longer taste her. He saw the blood as it flew into his eyes until he could no longer see her, but he felt no pain. He still knew she was crying.
He woke up in the middle of the afternoon. He rolled out of his bed and stumbled into the shower. He turned the hot water on as high as each nozzle allowed. Steam appeared instantly and it surrounded him. He rubbed soap all over his body. He rubbed his face as hard as he could until the soap seeped into his eyes. He opened and closed them very rapidly trying to get the soap out. He held them open, but the steam alone was not enough to aid them. He opened his eyes under the shower head and drowned them. After vigorous rubbing with his knuckles he could see again. He cleaned his hair with his eyes completely closed and stepped out into the cold bathroom.
He dressed, ran downstairs to the back door, and left the house for his car. He sat in his car for half an hour. He thought about the past year and a half. He thought about how much time he had spent with her, and how much time she had spent with him. He crossed his arms over the steering wheel and pressed his forehead against his wrist. He sobbed as he thought. Every memory was flooding his mind at one time. All at once he saw their prom, birthdays, reunions, meetings of families, dates, dances, trips, talks, hugs, kisses. Every single one of them. He knew all of these memories would stay with him forever and that made it more difficult. That made it harder for him to tell her he was leaving. He knew neither of their lives would be the same.
He started his car and rolled out of the two-car garage it was slumbering in. He was meeting her at a park. He didn’t know if she knew he was about to break up with her or if she thought they were just meeting. He had told her he wanted to talk to her, but he had always wanted to talk to her. He had conversations with her he could never have with anyone else. He told her things he never imagined he’d share. He talked her out of doing foolish things with a level of persuasion he never dreamed he could amount to. He opened up his heart to her so she could open her eyes to who he truly was.
He pulled up in front of some park benches. They were the only things in sight not blowing in the breeze. She was sitting on the furthest bench from his car, and she was beautiful. They’d been on that bench before. He opened his car door and got one foot out onto the gravel of the parking lot. He stared at the pedals of the car and released a sigh. A sigh that seemed to be from the first breath he had taken when he first met her. He remembered how he could hardly breathe when he first met her. He thought he looked like a fool not knowing what to do, but then she talked to him. She walked up to him and engaged him. He did not have to do a thing.
He closed his car door and walked over to her forcing a smile across his face. She stood up and hugged him. She was not smiling. Her arms locked behind his back. He held her until he could not bear it any longer. He released his hold of her back and let his arms fall to his sides. There was no life in her eyes because she saw the lifeless sockets staring at her. Her lips had fallen to a downward crest (a shape he rarely saw.) He bit the inside of his cheek and looked up to the sky.
“I’m sorry,” she said softly, “for everything.”

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