They say I need to keep going. Inhale and exhale. Just put one foot in front of the other, since slow and steady wins the race. But they don’t know that every breath I take and every step I make towards the future moves me further away from you.
See, the past is filled with memories we made together. It feels like sunshine and the touch of your velvety skin. It smells like our favorite dinners and your incredible hair. It sounds like singing Taylor Swift songs by the piano or blasting Demi Lovato in the car. It’s paved in laughter and love and all of my favorite dreams.
The past is familiar. The past is my happy place. The past is our home. It isn’t filled with panic or fear. There is no uncertainty.
Yet, any type of future, or any life without you, feels like my deepest, darkest nightmares. It sits in the shadows with no indication of how it will impact me, of how it will impact the life we build together.
I worry that each breath I take without you will slowly erase pieces of you from my memory. I fear I’ll forget the stillness of those Saturday mornings with overflowing coffee mugs. I worry that I’ll no longer remember the way my heart soared every time you looked at me with those dazzling blue eyes. I wonder how many breaths it will take before the feeling of your lips against mine will simply vanish.
Thinking about taking even a single step without you by my side makes me panic. I fear that a smile will cast a shadow over your loss, or make it seem like, somehow, I don’t miss you anymore. I worry about what will happen if I take too many steps, if I find a stride, how that will impact our interactions if we are truly to ever meet again.
I don’t want to forget you. I don’t want to move on. I just want to rewind the tapes and linger in the last peaceful moment we shared. But, alas, I am no time traveler. All I can do is decide whether or not I will keep breathing — and I think I know deep down which choice I need to make.