the stages of losing her

One.
You lost her weeks before you actually broke up with her. You lost her when your eyes met someone else’s and you decided to venture a bit too far into their smile to where you couldn’t get back to her. You left her between the exchanged hellos, but you lost her when she realised she never really knew what love was with you. You felt it like a bullet in the back that knocked the breath out of you, but somehow part of you tried to breathe through your punctured lungs until you heard the words coming out of her mouth for the last time. You lost her weeks before you actually broke up with her.

Two.
Three weeks into your “relationship” you realised she would probably overuse the words ‘I love you’ like they were a mantra burned into her thoughts. She’d spill them over goodbyes that smelled like coffee and summer days that are too hot, and you’ll feel the words slip from her mouth and suspend into the air like all she’s trying to do is convince herself that she was in love with you.

Three.
You could have sworn her lips were sunshine on the coldest day of the year, but now you’re left with the aftermath of burns splattered along your arms and neck where she left empty kisses, and no amount of cold showers will stop your skin from peeling right off your bones. Don’t fight it. Don’t try to tear at the sunburnt flesh hanging from your body as if it’s the only part of her you still have. I read somewhere that skin cells need thirty-five days to replace themselves, and one day you’ll be left with a whole new body she’s never touched and hands she’s never held and you won’t feel her crawling under your skin anymore.

Four.
You can’t listen to your favorite songs anymore because you taste her name in every word she used to sing and before you know it you’re choking on bitter promises. Your tongue feels like acid in your mouth and it kicks off an all too familiar gag reflex at the back of your throat and you’ll need to hold your knees against your chest to stop yourself from throwing up. You’ll fall asleep that way and wake up with nausea twisting hurricanes in your stomach. But you’ll be okay. You’ll be okay.

Five.
You’ll try to reread everything she’s written about you and you wonder if she had laced it all together with strings of vacant words. You’ll lose yourself between every promise she’d scribbled down in her notebook like the lies took a part of you and threw it across your bedroom; a glass bottle shattered against a brick wall. Let her break your heart into a million pieces, but please don’t let her take the pieces of you away with her. Wait a few days and pick your pieces off the floor again. Wait a few more weeks and put yourself together. It’ll sting like hell but the stitches will fade away and one day you’ll run your fingers over your body and feel whole again.

Six.
That first night the sky lit up when we kissed, you made me promise to never write our break up poem, and I think that’s oddly fitting because somehow I’ve lost all my words somewhere between your lips.

– excerpt from a book I’ll never write
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