The past, the present, the future. They swirled in my mind. Station. Sitting. There. No Eve. Only me. There. Alone. Sitting. Clothes only slightly damp. Hair dry. Eyes watching the sun come up through the windows.
The past. Eve. All that she was. All that she wanted to be. All that we saw together. Where was it now? Was it all in the fabric of the scarf I kept? The yellow scarf that now smelled more like me than her? What did it mean, keeping that scarf? Did it cement the fact that we had loved each other? Did it make it more real? Did it make it any more genuine? Did it mean that I truly loved her, that I wasn’t going to forget her?
How little confidence we have in ourselves sometimes. Often. How difficult it can be to believe in who we are. That we are who we say we are. That we can be more than we are. I thought that this was how it was supposed to be. This was what mourning was supposed to look like. There was supposed to be this kind of abuse. There was supposed to be this kind of disconnection from everything. From everyone.
But what it supposed to happen when that process is no longer sustainable, is no longer genuine? What happens when we are split from ourselves, from our hearts, from all that we once meant to be?
It was time, I knew, to start looking at myself. To not simply look for Eve. To not simply wonder who she was, who she would have become. To not think, even, of who she would want me to be. It was a time for being. I got up from the chair. The leather made a scraping sound as it let go of me. I reached into my pocket for cigarettes. Thankfully, they were dry.
I walked outside. The sun was starting to warm the air, take the biting edge off of the chill. The buildings rose up before me. The grass sparkled with dew. I watched exhaust rise into the air. It would rise and meet with the exhaust of a million other morning commutes and make the cloud that hung over this place.
I had become numb to it, that layer of pollution that so ruffled so many feathers. It did not feel like it was so horrible.
I lit a cigarette and tried to think. Lack of sleep pulled at the edges of my mind. I should have slept. I needed to find a place to sleep. I needed to figure some things out.
I reached into my pocket and touched the damp wad of money in there. Looked at it. Saw that it was enough to keep me going for a while. At least, it was as much as Eve and I had arrived here with.
I looked at the skyline and knew that I could not stay. That I had to go. At least for a while. I knew that I would want to return. I knew that I would be called back by the ghost of the memories I had here with Eve. I knew that it was alright to have them, alright to hold them, alright to have a yearning for her deep in the pit of my stomach. It would dwell there.
I could be anything. I could be anyone. I could go and become whatever, whoever, wherever.
I put out the cigarette. Stretched my arms out, breathed deeply. It would be alright. I could almost hear Eve’s voice in my ear, telling me that. Telling me that as she always did. I could do it. I could make it. I would.
I didn’t want to think of a day when I would not hear her whispers in my ear. It would have been terrible not to have her there. I tried to assure myself that she would be there. I tried not to worry. But I was afraid of forgetting her.
In holding on so tightly to her, I knew that I was losing myself. That I wanted to so much to remember her and everything she was and everything she did that I couldn’t form myself. That I lived as a vessel for her memory.
But to live is so much more than simply to be a vessel of memories. What happens when the time comes to make new ones? What happens when there is so much life left to be lived?
I made a decision, then, that I would seek myself. That I would let her go. That I would not hold her so tightly that I crushed her memory into a crumpled mass of who she was. She was light. Always light. And I would allow her to be. I had to allow her to be. I had to allow myself to be.
I bought a ticket northward. It didn’t make sense to go south.
I knew that I had to chase the cold. I knew that I needed to keep moving, for a long time. How long, I wasn’t sure. I only knew that it was necessary. Whatever direction I chose, it would be away from her, and I would heal. The trauma of this place needed to leave my body. The trauma of loss, of being lost, of not knowing.
I didn’t know, however, how that would actually happen. How I would actually move past it. How I would make myself become. How I was supposed to find myself when everything in me was imprinted with Eve.