Moving on was hard but I did it.
My last relationship wasn’t perfect.
There were lies, there was cheating, and most of it came down to me. It was my fault.
But if there is one thing that is true, one thing that shines like a beacon in the whole fucked-up episode, it’s this: I loved him. It was hard, but I loved him.
And that is why, when he called me after I had landed from a flight from a three-day trip of being together, I was shocked out of my wits when he told me he wanted to break up.
I knew this was coming. I knew we had changed too much from the people we had been when we had fallen in love, but even then, even with all the foreboding and the clear signs, his declaration came as a shock.
It was as if he was my tether to reality, and suddenly, it was cut loose.
I suppose this is what people mean when they say it is not possible to “prepare” for a breakup. No matter how many signs the universe sends you, you will keep holding on to the relationship with everything you have got, believing it will stay forever, that it is bulletproof.
We had been together for two years, and moving on was hard. But, I did it.
Oh, I did it.
I muted all WhatsApp notifications.
He was the only one I used to have long text conversations with. The familiar ping of a new message filled me with anticipation, reading his message and finding some solace in his words.
Now that he was no longer there, I didn’t need the constant ping of a new WhatsApp message to fill me with hope first and dismay the next second when I discover it was from someone else.
I also changed the ringtone of my phone.
Because, apart from my parents, he was the only one who would call me every day. I associated the ringtone with the cue that I would get to hear his voice next.
It was hard enough waking up one day to realise he would never call me, I just couldn’t take the pain of the constant reminder of this every time my phone rang.
The music would fill my head with thoughts of him, and I didn’t need this extra sadness in my life.
I thought getting rid of the triggers would help but little did I know triggers could be everywhere.
How could I train my brain, my heart, which had gotten so used to sharing every little detail of my life with him?
Whenever I talked to other people, I would keep imagining what he would say if he were present there.
I didn’t even need to talk to other people for this debilitating reminder of his absence.
Every interesting thing I saw along the way, every blooming flower, every meowing kitten, every whiff of chicken biryani from roadside stalls would remind me of how he would react if he were by my side. I found myself going into a downward spiral of missing him and cherishing the moments we spent together.
I thought I had let you go,
but darling, you were the one who never set me free.
Because even now,
so many months down the line,
I still look for you in every person I meet.
For the first few months, it was not possible for me to think of him without this gut-wrenching pain that threatened to tear my world apart, this intense feeling of drowning that left me gasping for air, clutching the nearest wall, unable to stand up straight.
But, of course, it got better.
The recovery was slow.
So slow, that I would call it a rebirth, not a recovery.
It was hard. It was probably the hardest thing I’ve done, but I’m here today.
Still laughing, still hoping, still believing in love.
Yes, a breakup is hard. But, it is not the end of everything good in life.
A breakup is never the end.