The Elegance of Loss

For a year she hasn’t touched his clothes. She hasn’t washed the bed sheets he had slept on or thrown away his toothbrush. Every Thursday she makes his favorite dinner, and lets his plate waste away in front of his empty chair. Her curtains smell of his hands, her bathroom is littered wit fragments of him—his sink coated with dabbles of hair from his face, his razor blades in their cases, neat like he always was. She remembers the stubble on his chin, on the sides of his face. She remembers how she would feel it on her cheek every morning. Now every morning she feels the cold kiss of her own tears, she touches his pillow with one finger, painting on it the lines of his face so vividly present in her memory. Her muscles ache with his movement.

She remembers their first night together. The realities of forever and never both escape the eighteen year old mind when it is consumed with love and fire. She ran from the prospect of the future and crashed into him. He kissed her. She could taste her tears slipping down her face and onto his lips. They were drinking each other in. There was a bed—sheets strewn over bodies twisting, the curves of their spines fitting perfectly in between each other. She can still feel his lips on her neck, his tongue dancing playfully against her body. She can taste the sour sting of his skin on her mouth, his teeth on her teeth, his blood on her blood. His bones on her bones, both of them breaking. For sixteen years she felt this every night. He was brand new every time he kissed her. She remembers his touch still, and in her sleep she grasps his hands tightly as he kisses her chest, her stomach, her sides…

She tells herself to stop, to move on, because for a year now she has seen his face in the rain, seen the truck that had crushed him so subtly. Every morning she wakes up and his eyes shake her. Wake me up from this nightmare, God, I’m begging you, please, no, please, why did this happen? In the thunderstorms outside her home she sees the broken and bloody motorcycle she never wanted him to drive. Her brain is screaming at her heart to mend itself, because no one can fix this, and she will never get him back so she might as well stop building a tomb in the middle of her living room.

But she will never be okay. She’ll make her life a memorial, she’ll tattoo his name to her heart. She’ll love him like wolves love the moon: so closely from so far away. Forever is a seed sewn thoughtlessly, and the plant that grows is ripped apart by death, crushed by a truck colliding with a motorcycle, and remembered by habit and longing. Today, she will wash his sheets, and she will clean the bathroom, but never will she erase his face from her eyes, expunge his heartbeat from her muscle memory. She’ll always be falling in love with a gravestone. Tomorrow, she will wipe the dust from its face.





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