Letters from a Grieving Lover

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic


A breakup story without a breakup.

Submitted: April 04, 2018

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Submitted: April 04, 2018

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Letter 1: Prologue

Two weeks ago I texted you: “Wanna grab a coffee or is that too weird after the talk we had last time?”. Your brother replied via phone call. He broke the news to me that you had left, had gone away, far away, too far for my dim brain to comprehend, at least in that god-awful moment.

It took me some days to realize that I’d lost you to a one-sided breakup, even though we’d never been together. It was you who called it quits. It was you who left me for The One. The one who overtrumps any lover you could have found, the one I’ll never be able to beat, the one who no doubt will keep you away from me for the rest of time: death.

When you left, I lost your smile. I lost your strength. I lost your warmth. I lost the opportunity to admit that huge mistake I’d made when I’d told you we should just be friends. Back then, I’d been so scared of taking chances. Guess it serves me right that when you left, I lost the chance to tell you the truth and now you’ll never know my love for you.

I’d find it easier if I knew you were at peace when you went away. But it was all across the news that you had to leave in agony and chaos. I constantly wonder if this would have happened, had we become lovers, entangled in our sheets, too lazy to leave the house on a Saturday afternoon while outside the world was running riot.

My friends try their best to ease my mind, they tell me I should say goodbye, but I can’t. So I keep treating this like the one-sided breakup it is. I get angry with you for stealing away. I get angry with anyone who tells me you’re gone for good. I roam around, ready to hunt and kill the men who took your life away from me. I look around, looking for you. I will never say goodbye.

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Photo by Greg Raines on Unsplash

Letter 2: The last time we talked

It’s hard not to live in the past these days. Writing down these words I can almost hear you say: “But you’re a time traveller, you should be used to living in the past.” Because that’s what our inside jokes looked like: me pretending to be a time traveller and you trying to hide your secret agent identity. When we spent time together, life became pleasantly surreal.

Now, without you, everything seems way too unvarnished. My body is exhausted after eternal days of grieving. In my head, I constantly try to travel back to the first time we met. Tripping over my own two feet while standing up to greet you. Seeing your smile and hearing your voice for the first time. Finding out you’re too shy to kiss on first dates. Slowly falling for you. I try to remember those moments, try to live in those memories, but it never works.

Instead, my mind always wanders off to the darker parts of our story. It hones in on the last time we talked. I see you standing there, on the rain-wet street in front of the bar where I told you we’d be better off as friends. You’re trying to pull yourself together. “Where is the tram station?”, you ask. “Which way should I go?” I point you in the right direction, trying not to feel pity, concentrating on that feeling of relief that tells me that I made it out in time, that a relationship between the two of us would have never worked, that it’s best to let you go.

However, I never let you go. After we’d talked for the last time, I started to miss you. I wanted to see you. But how could I come crawling back to you without making you despise me for being so fickle? It took me 65 days to muster up the courage until I finally sent you a message. It was the day you died.

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Photo by Thomas Charters on Unsplash

Letter 3: The day you died

It’s frustrating how many times you can rewrite a simple invitation to go out for coffee. I often wonder if I could have saved your life if only I had sent you that goddamn message a few minutes earlier. In my simple imagination, you would have stopped in your tracks to read my message, causing you to miss some green pedestrian lights, entering the underground station some vital minutes later than you had intended, or better yet not entering it at all. If only I had done something differently. If only I had known. If only… If only.

After pressing Send, I tried to keep my dignity by not constantly checking if you’d already seen my invitation. So I put down my phone and switched on the television. Five minutes of random entertainment fodder passed by, my last five minutes of oblivion. Then a bright red news crawl appeared at the bottom of the screen: BREAKING NEWS?—?EXPLOSION HITS UNDERGROUND STATION.

I didn’t think of you right away. First, I called a few friends who regularly take the underground line that was affected. They were all okay but it didn’t take long until the reported number of casualties rose to over 20 and I started to feel a nagging hunch. I checked my phone and saw that my message hadn’t been delivered to your phone.

Nervously, I waited for the message to get through to you but it didn’t. After half an hour I tried to call but couldn’t reach you. I left you a voicemail message, first in a joking, unfazed tone, then another one and another one, becoming more frantic each time: “I don’t know what’s going on. Call me, please call me. I need to know you’re alright.”

I spent the night awake, staring at my phone, desperately hoping to see you come online. My friends were trying to calm me down. They called a helpline that had been installed for those looking for loved ones, but they couldn’t find out whether you'd been in that underground station when the bomb went off.

Then, in the early morning, my message came through. It looked as if you had finally come online, back to life. I was exhilarated. I called you and got cut off. I called again and again, I texted you: “What’s going on?!”

That’s when your brother replied. The police had given him your broken phone and he had managed to get access to your SIM card. I can’t imagine how devastating it must have been for him to see all those messages from your worried friends, having to tell them to please stop calling because you were never going to answer again. I bet I’m not the only one who broke down hearing the news of your death.

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Photo by Redd Angelo on Unsplash

Letter 4: Some kind of closure

When I write stories I try to end them with a bang, with an unexpected turn, usually for the better. But this isn’t a story, this is real life, and the pain of losing you and losing what we could have been won’t end with a bang, it will stay with me forever, just like that god-awful feeling of regret that’s eating me alive. Still, one good thing happened that I need to tell you because I know it’s a story you’d love.

In the aftermath of your death I drank way too much, I slept less than ever and I wasn’t able to work. But somehow I found the strength to go to your funeral because I felt like it was the least and last thing I could do for you. During the funeral service I noticed a guy, alone like me, a couple years younger, crying his heart out. At the time I was disgusted by engaging in any human interaction, but?—?you know me?—?in the end my curiosity took over and I approached him after the service.

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Photo by Tom Pumford on Unsplash

The lad seemed relieved to get his story out, still in tears. A few weeks prior to the bomb attack he’d found you on the same dating site on which you’d found me. I was astonished to learn that he knew our story. You'd told him that the last guy you dated before had put you in the friend zone. So I spilled the beans: “You know, that bastard who put her in the friend zone, that was me.”

You should have seen the look of utter surprise on his face. Immediately, he stopped his sniffling. He even sized me up for a second. Maybe he was thinking about fighting me in order to revenge you, or maybe he was just comparing our looks (which by the way were quite similar - you have good taste, you know).

At that moment, I really didn’t want to fight that guy, he seemed sincere and I actually kind of liked him, even though he had replaced me in some way. I wanted to become friends with him, but all I could come up with was: “So, did she tell you about her rule as well? The no-kissing-on-first-dates-rule?”

He nodded, then added: “Did she tell you that she’s never been kissed?”

No, you'd never told me that, even though I'd suspected it after not being able to steal a kiss from you on all the dates we went on.

“She’d never really kissed a man.” The guy started to smile, proudly. “But still she kissed me.”

“What?! On your first date?”

“Yup. She asked me to show her what it’s like, so I-…”

“No details please.”

I was baffled, you surely know that. You’d broken your rule for that guy. Why hadn’t you broken it for me? Why had you kissed him, but not me? I was envious, I felt angry, my sympathy for that arrogant douche in front of me disappeared within seconds, but it didn’t seem appropriate to start a fist fight at your funeral, so I just gave that guy an awkward pat on the shoulder and excused myself to go to the toilet. A few minutes later, after splashing cold water on my face, I realized that I wasn’t just angry and envious, I was also weirdly grateful.

Still today, a year after your funeral, I am grateful for that guy who kissed you because he’s living proof that you moved on after me. I hate that I couldn’t be him, but I’m glad you found someone new who you trusted enough to break your own rules. And if you’d gotten my message, if you were still alive, I’m sure we could have grabbed a coffee. But it would have been clear that you’d already moved on.

You’re gone. You’ll never read these words. So my love for you remains a secret and I know I’ll keep it, like I always do. Until maybe one day I’ll find someone I trust enough to break my own rules, to take chances I once should have taken with you.

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Photo by Filip Mroz on Unsplash


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