Absent Presence

“The more she tried to forget, the more she remembered.” -T.K. Kiser


I see you waiting behind every corner, lurking in every shadow, standing at the end of every corridor. My mind transfigures each passing stranger into your form, causing me to stop and stare in frozen anticipation. There’s no where I can go to escape your absent presence. Even when my eyes are closed your image burns as freshly in my mind as if I had only seen you moments ago.
Everybody tells you how hard a breakup can be. The difficulty of not communicating with a person who, for so long, had been your best friend, your very foundation in life, is no secret. The pain of erasing you from my immediate existence is so overwhelming, and honestly, the fact of the matter is that erasing you is impossible. Despite the photographs having been destroyed, the gifts returned, the letters burned, your memory still lingers inside my heart every moment, the harbinger to a repository of unresolved emotion.
As the days stretched into weeks, which stretched into months, I felt myself getting better slowly with each passing hour. I thought about you a little less, I was able to eventually revisit places we had once gone together, I could bear hearing certain songs or words or phrases that once reminded me of you. But then a passing stranger who bears the slightest resemblance to you happens upon me and my heart is instantaneously shattered into a million little fragments.

The question running through my mind day in and day out is whether I will, or even can, forget you? Will the moment ever arise in which you are nothing more than a disregarded face among a sea of forgottens? Desperately longing for such a time, yet simply unable to remove you from my being. Your name latches onto my mind and my heart like a parasitic little love bug that refuses to relinquish its claim on my psyche. None of this is, of course, your fault. You haven’t sought me out in the least. You’ve not made any form of contact since that dreadful day six months ago. And yet, I can’t let you go.
Perhaps my inability to erase your legacy lies within the unresolved guilt I harbor. Like an icy, cold, disconnected spirit, I remain transfixed in a state of purgatory. Unable to move on, unable to change the past, unable to convey to you the magnitude of my shame and sorrowfulness about how I treated you. And yet simultaneously, I am propelled by a burning rage about the secrets you kept from me, the unforgivable acts of indiscretion, and the constant need to keep our relationship in secrecy, least your family discover your true identity. These competing forces are constantly at war with one another inside my heart and mind, the juxtaposition of irony ridiculing me with each false sighting of you I encounter.

It’s been so long now, that I’m not sure I can say with any validity that I truly love you. What is for certain, however, is that I just can’t seem to forget you. And that, it appears, is worse than any case of unrequited love could ever be. The notion does arise, nevertheless, that genuine, authentic love has no end, but rather, is eternal. Will I be cursed with never ceasing to love a man whose absent presence is with me forever? Is that the price of love? Or is the mark of something quite different indeed?


Sorry to get all sappy and self-centered this week. I’ve just been hit with a case of “the feels” as I continue packing up and getting ready to begin a fresh start in a new city. Please, share with me your thoughts on how- or if it’s even possible- to move on from past loves.


Photo Sources:

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