You were different.
I don’t know if I ever told you that, but there it is. For you, I broke every self-imposed rule I’d ever created. They say the best kind of love is the one you never see coming, the kind that sneaks up on you so slowly that by the time you feel its presence, it has already burrowed deep inside the caverns of your heart that you didn’t even know existed.
You were a surprise, a calamity that happened both slowly and all at once. You were different because you had enough flaws to create a thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle in your image, and if I prodded, you would fall apart. Pieces of you would be lost, forever, under coffee tables and between sofa cushions. But I could pick out each one instinctively, as bright to me as each star we counted at night. Yet like the stars themselves, I saw in them beauty and life, and the remnants from which they were built a thousand lifetimes ago. They were scars of your internal universe, expanding and contracting, and I could trace each one softly, so as not to cause you pain.
You made me a better observer of the mundane. While I loved you, my senses were heightened, the loveliness of small things magnified. Everyday, I saw things that reminded me of you, things that would make you smile, make you think, make you purse your lips in thought that way that you do. You made my words sharp and my thoughts clear. You made everything overly bright, made me believe I was some magical, mythical genius. You tethered me to the here and now while I built hot air balloons out of my imagination. Sometimes, I even let you come with me on those fantastical flights of fancy.
Now you’re gone, and I am left with scraps of a patchwork hot air balloon and little chance of an easterly wind to carry it on. I am grounded for good and the landscape is as colorless as it was once colorful.
Our currency was science, the future, and technology. Did you know that a kiss is an evolutionary development to allow for the exchange of sensory data, allowing us subconscious insights into the minds of our partners? Did you know that even a millisecond of love changes your very makeup, “expanding your awareness of your surroundings, even your sense of self?” And did you know that the loss of love – of heartbreak – impacts the same center of your brain that reacts to physical pain?
Losing love has been tantamount to losing my balance. I never was a very good tightrope walker, and now I walk life with a handicap: the loss of some phantom limb that tips me too much one way or too far another. I compensate for the imbalance – there are crutches I can use, tricks of the carny’s trade. There are sleights of hand and shows of suspense. But in the end, I wish science went further. I wish that drug from “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” existed, for I would choose to wipe you from my memory without a second thought. I wish magic were real and those hot air balloons could fly me to Oz or Wonderland or Narnia…and to forgetting. More than anything, I wish someone would patent a prosthetic for a broken heart.
My money’s on 3D printers. They’ll print you anything these days.
Zainab Chaudary works in politics by day and as a writer by night. Her blog, The Memorist, ruminates upon travel, religion, science, relationships, and the past, present, and future experiences that make up a life. She tweets @TheMemorist