I wanted to get away, to know him far away from me, far enough that even the thought of him wouldn’t reach me. When I decided to push him out of my life, I knew I was going to carry him inside me for a while. But I wasn’t expecting my lungs to burn when I breathe, or to wish to kill a part of me. I didn’t know anybody who had died until that moment. I never mourned for anyone. And now I was carrying around with me a dead body that nobody was seeing, nobody was in mourning for. Just me. Not surprisingly, I had become confused: who actually died?
Then, time learned to pass by. I let myself be taught how to stay put and let it pass over me. I was always thinking about him though, sometimes with anger, other times wondering how I was capable of such submission. Never with nostalgia. Because I was afraid to miss him. Then I forgot how it is to carry him around. I forgot how missing him felt like. I regained my boring freedom.
It’s been four years. I talked about him as my great love tragedy. Somewhere, deeply rooted in my mind, was blossoming the idea that I would never again love a man with such determination.
Now, I’m standing here like struck by lightning! The crown of my head seems to be opening, making room for an angry tornado of memories and predictions. So staggering, that I feel my right leg moving away from my left one and deciding on its own to create an arbitrary trajectory to keep me grounded. I hear the heel landing on the ground like a bomb. Billions of electrical chills are discharging along my spine, as if an old wound would lose its stitches, unveiling the flesh.
I know what’s coming, now, that he is standing in front of me. I will stay nailed to where I’m standing, without escape, expecting an uncontrollable wave of terror to hit me from behind with all its power. My lips will become numb and my eyes will raise a fog curtain over them to prevent a possible tear storm. I’ll eventually open my mouth and let a “Hello!” slip, releasing straps that will wrap around my chest and will squeeze until I won’t be able to breathe anymore. Every blink of his will be like a hand full of dirt thrown carelessly over the desperate beatings of my heart. If I won’t have a panic attack, I’ll faint!
I wish I could become nothing, I wish I would vanish! I wish I would be just a hallucination! Apparitions can’t feel fear. I wish I would become air! The shiny cold blade of fear will rip through my flesh any minute now.
He comes closer and my right shoe stays... How come it doesn’t retract?... What a silly question to disrupt my panic… “Kiss him!” “What?” “Kiss him!” “Why?” “To see if there’s a chance he would come back to you!” My right shoe started moving slowly. First, the ankle had a twitch, then it carefully pulled the whole leg. My mind is already creating the image of a future where he is holding my hand while we are crossing an ordinary street. It’s the comfort that I have imagined all my life, the peak of our love’s steadiness… How come my heart isn’t anywhere on this street? It’s not in his pocket, not in mine… I’m searching for it on the wheels of the cars driving by, in the minds of the people crossing the ordinary street, behind the clouds, in the sun… I’m looking for it in the wrong place and I know it already.
A pleasant sound broke the silence. It was of rubber touching granite. My shoe had found its place. My ankles are now aligned. And I was still standing, waiting for a wave of panic that, I finally understood, was never to come.
He said “Hello” back and I noticed I had a warm, calm smile on my face. “I don’t want to know whether there’s still a change.” The following seconds turned me into air, replacing my nervous silhouette that filled the space before, with the smell of perfume and some shoe traces. And the dead I had been carrying with me for so long.
I was walking so lightly now. And I was stunned how easily a soul can move if you release it from fear.
It started raining and in my bag I could hear the phone ringing, but the caller is now a stranger to me.