It was one of those cloudy mornings, raindrops indecisively falling from the sky, not quite rain, not quite anything. Faded natural light lay across apartment, the bright fluorescent lights still asleep. The sultry voice of a heartsick jazz singer filled the spaces in between the shadows, the gloom, the empty chairs and bed sheets. The sweet aroma of freshly brewed coffee sat in the air, the only sense of happiness to be found. She sat upon the window seat, a quilt wrapped around her body. She stared out the window at the gray world, lost, dreaming. Coffee in one hand, a pen in the other. She stared out into the world but saw nothing real, only shapes in the sky and colours in the landscape that reminded her. She put her pen once again to the blank paper, there was a thousand things she wanted to say but she just couldn’t. She couldn’t say any of it. When did this get so hard? She removed the pen from the paper once more. She was filled with words and emotions but to express any of them would only lead to painful thoughts and realizations. How did this get so complicated, when did emotions become so breakable? It was all so simple before. Until love. Love, that beautiful, fragile, heart-wrenching, idiotic thing. She didn’t know what do with herself but she had to remember that after all, it was her choice. All of this was her choice.
She put the pen back on the paper once more and began writing. She started a sentence but immediately scratched it out, she began another but got only five words down before scratching it out as well. Trying again she simply wrote I miss you. Hesitating a moment before replacing miss with love. They were the perfect three words, but also the most painful three words. She stared at the words a few moments longer then crumpled up the paper and tossed it onto the floor where it joined the mound of similarly discarded pieces of crumpled paper. Oh love. What did she know of love? Nothing. The answer was nothing.
It was about time she did something; sitting around in the apartment was beginning to feel hopeless and suffocating. Quickly throwing on some semblance of clothing she headed for the door. As the elevator slowly fell towards the ground she restlessly laced up her running shoes and fumbled around in her pockets for her ipod, today was one of those days that the world just needed to be drowned out. Finally the elevator reached the ground and she took off running. She ran and ran and ran in no particular direction. She ran past bleak concrete high-rises, empty restaurant patios, glossy office buildings covered in cloudy reflections and finally came across a park with a forested pathway. An old familiar tune began to blast through her ears, hitting her brain like a freight train. She wanted to cry and scream and to just disappear off the face of the planet as the words began banging around in her skull like a bird stuck in a cage. Your skin and bones, turning into something beautiful, d’you know… She couldn’t take it; she ripped the cords out of her ears and hurled that stupid piece of technology into the depths of the forest, leaving her in a world of silence. She ran faster and faster down the pathway until her lungs burned and eventually collapsed onto a grimy wooden bench.
She had always been a runner, and a good one at that. She’d run at track meets during her elementary and high school years, she had run from her house and moved in with her mother when her father married that other woman, she had run away from all her high school relationships, and when the time came, she had run to the other side of the country for university to get away from her parents and that small, suffocating town she called home. And now she was doing it again.
Collapsed on the bench, breathing heavily, head in hands, a single tear rolled down her cheek. Every ounce of her was exhausted. But the second she stopped running, she began remembering. Remembering the blue of his eyes, the sound of his voice, his hand on her skin. She remembered the look on his face when she walked out the door, the teary eyes of her friends when they said goodbye, the look on her parents’ faces when she got on that airplane, the last looks.
With a heavy sigh she hauled her body off the bench and began to aimlessly wander further down the forested path. Even though her ipod now sat somewhere among the ruffled leaves on the mossy floor, she could still hear that song, and felt a pang of sorrow as the melody dragged her into the dark depths of her mind. She couldn’t stop playing the song; their song in her head, she had become a broken record. D’you know, you know I love you so, you know I love you so… With each note she fell deeper and deeper into her memories, even the best memories now felt painful. Days at the beach, his laugh, his hand in hers, quiet mornings in bed, his smell, his kiss, the look on his face when she told him. She tried to stop the memories, she didn’t want to think of him, but everything reminded her of him. Everything. That dreadful feeling was growing inside her, she missed him, she missed him so much that not just her heart but her everything seemed to ache, it almost felt like her soul ached. Could a soul ache? Was that even possible? She wasn’t sure but right now it felt like someone was playing tug of war with her heartstrings and she was losing.