She was his everyday everything, and he realized he would never replace – or fill – the part of his heart that he had devoted to her. It’s not that it was off limits, for he had tried to reach it every day since he last called her his love. Instead, the void was simply too enormously significant to fill with any other memory.
He had loved since, but it was never the same. Everything felt like some crude high school mock-up, not a Broadway set. The pinnacle of his recent loves was, to be austere, the destruction of the set pieces and, equally, the black absence of the negative space when it was over. In that space, he could see through to what was left of his shattered and failing memories.
Loop and again, he couldn’t get her out of his mind. But the sad thing was, his memories were fading – not much faster than the basal sliding of a ten-thousand year glacier – but fading nonetheless. Stored sensations that he once carried in and around him now seemed as far away as the migrating sea gulls circling above the summer bay. He devoted hours of his days to trying to remember the details that mattered most – the ones he now missed the most. God, damn it. The beginning wasn’t right and there was no end.
It wasn’t much of a leap to presume that in spite of the bad and the worse, the fighting and the distance, the intrusions by others and the exclusions by one another he could have had her for the rest of his life. They could have persevered.
Love is perseverance he would say aloud when there was nothing else he could do to calm his hands which shook from anger. He would fold them together and say aloud that love is perseverance. That sturdy set around him both walling him in and walling him out.
Written from 11:45pm to 12:15am on Sunday, November 8 and Monday, November 9 of 2009 in my childhood bedroom in Traverse City, Michigan.