― William Faulkner
My torment lay at the foot of my bed, as a dog would. Kicking me every so often, to remind me I was in pieces. All I had was time and memories. Maybe it’s a human condition, to need the feeling of a connection. And I was anything but connected. My eyes searched the dark room for some kind of comfort. Any kind of comfort. Empty and motionless. Empty and motionless as my chest. Each tick of my watch brought me a little farther away until my eyes could hold focus no longer and just before the walls could fully close in on me, I was drifting into sleep.
My memories layed over me, covering me in discomfort. And my conciousness found rest and I felt nothing. I was nothing.
Dreams. The illusions that held me through the night. A temporary fix to the ill reality and the rising sun that jerked everything back into place. I awoke back to the longing, aching thing that was me. To the familiar raw, relentless naw, feeling sorry I had to wake at all. Feeling sorry this is what has become of me.
Today was the day. I was leaving this little town. Not because you were gone, but because I was gone.
I had grown out of this life. I no longer fit into it. Like an aged, beloved sweatshirt, it was time to leave it behind. Anxiety filled my chest as I topped off my bag. My entire life packed softly away into two travel sized bags. The only things left of me. I clung to my memories, white knuckled. There wasn’t anything I wanted to forget, nothing I wanted to leave behind. Only you.
I counted each step to the door. Each step I had thoughtlessly walked over all the days before. And this day, it’d be the last time I’d walk them. As I reached the door, I could feel my eyes swell. I had been so strong for so long, I was exhausted. I no longer knew how to contain myself and the tears began to flood my eyes.
I looked back once more and for a minute it all stopped. All the racing thoughts, the fears, and the pain. I think for a short instant, my heart stopped as well. Every corner of every room held the light to a different memory. Was I ready for this? Was I ready to close this chapter in my life? Leave my hope of picking our life back up again along side the garbage pails waiting to be picked up, like garbage? I had no choice. I had to be ready.
I stood there, lost in my own head, for what seemed like an eternity. The last weeks events, ripping through me. A graceless tornado, distructive and violent.
That moment, the one when I could feel my heart break into all those tiny little pieces. I didn’t need to see it, to know it was already broken and breaking further. I could feel it crumb the buttom of my chest. And each piece, a sliver burrying itself deeper.
It was slowly replacing the hellos, and the goodbyes. It replaced the kisses, and entangled fingers.
It was a slow fog, and even in just those few days, it had taken my memory over almost completely.
And I ran through my mind, all the flags I ignored that brought me here. How I didn’t see the light on this train, before it hit me.
This was my life.
I started my car, fought the weight of my foot on the break, pulled myself together, and drove away.
I’d have left the thought of you there, in that time, at that place. My home. But it seemed to have been packed safely in my bag. Stitched into every pocket. It was drawn onto my map away from here and it was on every highway sign, every mile marker, and every car I passed.
I held my breath until I reached that sign. The one that told me to turn the page. The ‘ready or not, here I come.’ And only then, could I breathe again.
“Now leaving New York.”