The hauntingly compeling memories of her swirl around me.
We grew up together - neighbours at five, friends at ten, lovers at fifteen, and soul mates at twenty five. With her by my side, I never needed much else. Struggles and sadness came and went, but nothing seemed too much to handle, for at the end of the day, I had her to go back home to. Friends flitted in and out of our lives, family was constant but distant, other suitors few and far between. Everything started and ended in the other, for us.
We weren’t physically very attached - I didn’t feel the need to intertwine my fingers with her long, sensitive ones, or feel the warmth of her skin, the slightly pepperminty breath she blew my way playfully, or twist the locks of her long tresses absently. I didn’t hug her for a second more than deemed appropriate by propriety, nor did I smile my hungry smiles at her too often. Our long, lingering kisses were always secreted away from the world. Not that we were ashamed of anything, we simply liked the comfortable niche we had made for ourselves, our world within the world where nothing, no one, marred the perfection we perfected from having eternity together.
But our souls - our souls were stitched together. Like I needed her to be able to breathe. Like my presence was her elixir of life. Like we both had one leg each and had to hold on to each other to be able to stand up straight. The benefits of knowing each other through all stages of change, I could complete her sentences and she could predict my impulsive moods. I stocked the fridge with the kale chips she loved, while she picked up Rebecca once every three months from the library, never questioning why I loved the book so much.
There are couples in love, in relationships, in marriages. And then there was us.
We argued over something silly - I didn’t like the cats getting inside the bed covers while she wouldn’t stop sneaking them in. For warmth, she said. For cuddles, she said. Voices were raised quickly enough, though. What started as a silly argument ended up as a splatter of questions on the blank white kitchen walls that shook the very foundations of our relationship, of our bond. She blurted out that she felt trapped. I recoiled instantly. That brought pity to her eyes which made me recoil even more. I lost control over my tongue and the words that came out aren’t words that ever will be erased, from my memory or hers.
A week later, she kissed me one last time before she packed her owl clock and paisley-printed spoon. And she took the long meandering path out of the house, to the bus stop. And onward.
What I applaud myself and her over, when the pain subsides for a bit, is for having known when to end things, for not having dragged it out. Like the clean swipe of a new knife that severs with medical accuracy.
Now, I’m walking down the aisle of a church I have never been in before, in a dress that is uncomfortable and unbecoming of me, with people I have never seen before in my life surrounding me, to marry a man I do not love. The memories of her linger in my being, the taste of her full lips, the crook of her heady smile, the stubborn fringe of hair, the quiet little winter snores, the warmth of her fingers, the fart jokes only we could find funny, the love in her eyes.
The memories lingered in my head as my lips repeated my wedding vows after the minister.
Linking to Three Word Wednesday