“You’ve changed,” he said, a sadness in his voice. He looked like he’d come home to open a present only to find that after the circus of ripped wrappers and ribbons pulled apart, there was nothing inside – nothing but an empty box with pieces of tape still stuck on.
“Have I? I didn’t notice.” I told him as I gulped the last of my black coffee, its warmth and bitterness like an embrace from a long lost friend. I wanted to sound cool and nonchalant but I fear that I came across as bored and drawn-out. And I’ve replayed this scene over and over in my head for the last 2 weeks wondering if I should have said what I wanted to.
That yes, I’ve changed and I was fully aware of that. But I didn’t change because I wanted to. It was because I had to. That day he packed his suitcase, he took more than just his books, records, and half the DVD collection. He ripped my heart away.
He pulled the smile away from my lips, the light from my eyes, the youth from my fingertips. It was as though something had imploded and I could feel my heart, my skin, my sex burning out and caving in.
Everything he ever touched, ever kissed, ever loved slowly fell away. For days, I walked around with what was left of me – an eyeball, half an arm, a fractured skull, various veins and tissues popping out.
I filled the void with whatever I could find. I rebuilt myself with the comfort of a stranger’s smile on the train, with work, with candlewax and some driftwood, casual encounters at the gym, some used up gum, and a pack of cigarettes.
In time, I grew back all that I had lost save one – you can never grow back a heart.
And so though I sat in front of him drinking coffee and acting cool, I’m afraid there wasn’t much left of who I was. Yes, I looked the same as I did a year ago when he last loved me but if he had come closer and pressed an ear towards my chest, he would hear nothing but the dull echo of his own voice telling me I’ve changed.
Photo: baby sunflower
♫: Isaac Gracie | Terrified (2016)