Nonfiction

Since You’ve Been Gone by Emily Sipes

Since you’ve been gone, my dear, I’ve laughed, and I’ve cried; I’ve missed, and I’ve forgotten, I’ve stared at death in the face and dreamed of bliss beneath me. I think of you still. But I’ve since moved on. I’m doing well since you’ve been gone. 

I forgot how to breathe when you left, then I forgot your face. Time pulled our strings, cut them, left me in knots with so many broken ends, there was no putting me back together. Sanity left my head to hold my hand and walk beside me, present but never permanent. I left reality to fantasy, and came back dreaming of things that would never happen. I forgot your face, lost in the delusions I created to bring you back to me. And since you’ve been gone, you’ve become someone else. 

When I forgot how to breathe, I forgot how live. That’s a given, obviously. My lungs festered while I choked on my tears, and the rest of me wasted away too, crumbling away under red lines and panicked gasps. Death held my hand, looked me in the eyes, and asked me, Are you ready for pain? Real, undiluted, raw pain?

I battled. I pulled him towards me, desperate for one last embrace. I pushed him away, I screamed my grief in his face.

Take me. 

Leave me. 

Take my misery. 

Leave my hopes.

Take my body. 

Leave my body. 

He left me, but not before leaving his shadows under my eyes. 

But since you’ve been gone, the shadows have faded; the kiss, it has faded too. Time has let the broken ends dull. The ghost of your memory only haunts me sometimes, somedays. The wounds will never really heal, but that’s okay. The scars will never let me forget the memories I shared with you. Memories will fade; some will stay, some won’t — your face won’t ever be the same in my mind’s eye. Time has blunted my broken ends, but it has also taken you further away across the sands of time. 

My dreams are scarce, and you have been gone for a while. Love has found me wrapped in him and his arms of warmth and safety and soft words. I fell in love with the little things, the soft breath of water rolling down the stream and pastel sunsets. Words have caught my heart running down the street with the air in my lungs tossed up in their hands. Since you’ve been gone, I’ve learned how to laugh, how to fall and get back up again when my legs are broken, and my arms have nothing left. 

Since you’ve been gone… I fell in love with life.