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Drowning - Short Story

You know, one thing I never understood about when we broke up is how you got over it so fast. I just think it seems a little unfair that I was lying awake, aching, praying that the rules would change and putting on my brave face, faking for years. You had a boyfriend within the month. I’m just saying. I broke up with you. We’re raised on stories, shows, and movies where the dumpee is the one crying, eating ice cream, zoning out and reliving, wishing that it had gone differently. But nobody made a movie for me to learn how to cope when the dumpee is happy and the dumper is sat flat on a couch with a bottle of rum and a mind full of the “what ifs.”

I want to tell you this to your face. So badly. I’ve set the scene many times in my mind when there’s nowhere left for my thoughts to go and I can’t rest my eyes. I want to know if you know that I’ve been dying off and on since we parted ways, but I also know that it was I who brought about my own demise. I have no right to unearth what’s in that grave.

Did you know that I loved you? I know I said it all the time, but so did you and you see where that took us. No, but did you know that I really, truly loved you? I’ve wondered about that when I ponder those “what ifs” and I probably didn’t realize it myself at the time, but when you’re young there’s a lot of things your mind is blind to. But I think I did. I don’t think I ever fully told you that you were what kept me going most days when my stress was overflowing and I needed an escape. Your smile was contagious, your laugh my favorite song, and every word that dripped from your lips filled the ocean that I wanted to sail away on and explore forever more. You were my captain and I was your loyal, loving first mate, content to follow you wherever you guided us.

Until I wasn’t. Until we hit those stormy seas and I let my fears blind me. I grabbed the wheel when it wasn’t mine to grab and I steered us off course and I drowned in the process. You were never to blame, I always thought, and as I sunk lower and you sailed away on the only life raft, I believed, truly, that I deserved it. You found yourself a new first mate and I found myself under the service of Captain Morgan. I take another drink.

The thing is, I don’t want to go back to you. Not now, not after we’ve spent so long drifting on different wavelengths. I know you aren’t the same, or at least I’d hope, and I know I’ve been eroded to the point where I’m unrecognizable. Some days I think it’s exposed the good under the hurt, washed away the impurities to leave some gold shining through, but it’s left me more fragile than before and now when I think back to you I feel it deeper than I ever had. And I see clearer than I did before, but now I’m angry where I was just sad and supportive. It’s just now washing over me that it was less than a month. In the grand scheme of things, when the world changes face and shape, as the winds of destiny blow away the old dust and alters perspectives, a month is barely a breeze. I’ve felt the pain of crashing waves knocking me down for days when I’d think of you as you sailed away. I wished you’d circle back for the longest time, and my love wouldn’t die but I wished that I might if only just to alleviate the hurt I felt for the longest time. But you were fine.

Did you ever love me in the first place?

I lay here, watching the fan blades circle slowly, floating lonely, the bottle in my hand my only company, and I wonder where you’ve floated off to. I hope you’re doing well, but I also sort of wonder if you ever do this too. Are you still with him? Is he treating you right? Ultimately, I know it’s not my place. There’s no point in reminiscing, yet here I stay, stuck in this current, fallen from your grace.

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