The moon is bigger than I have ever seen it. It sits like a shiny piece of silver money in the soft air. You turn to me and say, did you know that the moon is tidally locked to the Earth? I say that I did. You ask whether I know why. You say you’ll show me, that you can’t wait, that I’ll love it.
After the party, I cry on the way home. Like the birds before an earthquake, something tells me all is about to change.
When I get off the bus in the evening, after walking so far and so much during the day that I can barely move, the moon is even bigger. It is covered by pinkish clouds this time, and looms across the street in a blankly threatening manner. The clouds are bold and dark, and sharply outlined by a streak of orange light that cuts between the chimneys, and I wonder what you would say about it.
When you tell me that you lied, I am angrier on a level far deeper than I thought possible.
Walking in the middle of the road, vertically, straight down, reveals a unique symmetry. I am unconcerned by the cars that rush past and brush past.
Everything that I do is mechanical. I listen to the same five songs on repeat. I write some words. I think of you. I write some more words. I miss you. It is a bare description because—for once—I do not have the words. It is a boring constant dullness, like toothache, and even when I write hundreds, thousands of words, when I stay in the office after everyone has left, until I am dizzy and sick from staring at the screen, it does not fade: it is impossible to evict your ache from the side of my mind.
My conversations are perfunctory. I think of you. I miss you. The anger has subsided and has been replaced by a pathetic hurt. The little letters express maybe a fraction of the sheer misery I am in. I see you everywhere: in the street, through my window, in cars, on the steps of buildings. I see you and I run after you, stopping just short of crying out your name, I rush to the window and fling up the sash, but it is not you, it is never you, it is always, inevitably, someone of your height, in your clothes, with your features. On Catte Street the resemblance is so close that, for a full three minutes I am convinced it is you, and I fail to breathe, fixed there in the middle of the road, at a total loss, semi-conscious of how abject I am.
A beautiful card with a glittering peacock, inside a few well-chosen words of strength and love from a dear friend. I think of you. I miss you.
I do not cry. I robotically and dully wash my hair, tearless and joyless, while listening to a song about crying on the shower floor. I do not make eye contact to avoid revealing how reduced I am. I am impossible to be with, because I am present nowhere save for your room in my memory, methodically turning over each image, each evening with you, as if doing so would reveal the answer to the half-formed question of this ache.
I think of you. I miss you.
I know you are using these days of space to build a wall around your mind that pushes out any of the images that we shared and that I so treasure, so that by the time we come to meet you will look at me with cold and unmoved eyes that betray no hint of a memory of how interesting and so fascinating and sunset-doused walks down Holywell Street with my hand in yours, of dreamy Californian synth vibes and your finger on my lips and your anger when I am mistreated, even a long time ago and narrated over dinner, of you catching me with both of your arms when I stumble, of me in your blue T-shirt from college and nothing else, of my simple unbounded joy on seeing you and my whisper that I missed you. After all, you woke up one morning and decided—what? I don’t know: that none of this was real? Or that you didn’t fancy it any more, and so it was time to take the kitchen scissors to the newborn skein, so soft and vulnerable, and thus so easily shredded?
The evening is the worst because it was that time that we were to have spent together, and I cannot keep my eyes away from the clock, cannot keep myself from noting that at this time I would have been on your floor, at this time I would have been in your bed, at this time on your bed, at this time you would have been walking me back to the bus stop, the little ritual, promises of an evening early in the week, perhaps a stolen hour in the daytime, perhaps. It is dull and it is miserable, I bore myself with how much this hurts and how little else I am able to think about, and I despise myself for how much I would give to have it all the way it was, how easily I would forgive in exchange for the reinstatement of the rituals, and how powerless this makes me. I am pitiful and I am pathetic, and with every hour that passes where I am like this, I am yet more keenly aware of the unlikelihood that you will ever look at me again with the fresh wide eyes of open-hearted admiration and affection that I thought I knew.
I am glad to be able to laugh with my friends today. I catch myself not thinking of you once or twice, and it is a respite.
I am needed, and I am in attendance, which is a blessing, but I wish it were not necessary. I think of a dear house far away, by the water, a place of love and—usually—of laughter, of madcap schemes and loud voices mingling in the kitchen, of neat shelves of books and unconditional support, a very own book of proverbs that feel as comfortable as your favourite shoes. I hope, but don’t know how, that my constant thoughts of this dear warm place are able to send just a little comfort at a time when the usual laughter is quiet. I am at a loss. I watch the immovable object bear the unstoppable force and my heart breaks.
I am at a loss.