The sounds of sneakers screeching traveled across the living room. I stood with my eyes closed as the cooling frost of the freezer escaped around the sides of my face. Slowly I closed the door and walked toward the couch. Before I could sit, I found a lump expanding in my throat. Not the first of the day.
"What a year it has been for the NBA!", the announcer shouted. As I thought of how many game nights came before this, a glaze of salty liquid blurred my vision. Another moment of nostalgia draining from my face.
Phantom limb pain is felt in the area where an arm or leg has been amputated. Although the limb is gone, the nerve endings at the site of the amputation continue to send pain signals to the brain that make the brain think the limb is still there.
I think phantom love pains exist too.
The remnants of past experiences intertwined with our heartstrings. Those moments where it's a natural reaction to share a laugh out loud. The ones where you hear news and instantly think about sharing it with them. Where it feels so natural to do something until you realize that person isn't there.
Today it was during the NBA Finals game.
And while measuring out a pasta serving for dinner.
And reading a funny tweet.
And cleaning out an old notebook with a duo quarantine workout plan.
And wearing a pair of jeans he always used to jokingly compliment me in.
My natural reactions to engage were instantly brought back to the reality of an empty apartment.
The last time I went through this deep of a feeling toward a breakup was in 2013. Freshly 21-years old with a map of naive optimism driving my actions. School, dance, partying, competitions, internships, a campus of nearly 16,000 people engulfing me like a pool of distractions. Now here in 2021... I sit in an apartment feeling everything to my core. Strangely enough, I didn't account for this. I thought us "handling this well" would be the patch over this process.
Maybe it's that "silence speaks volumes". Maybe it's that satellite feeling of us still being connected in some distant sense.
But I think after so long, you organically start to mesh with a person. We always have our own individual identities in relationships, but all of that excess love starts to meld together. So when that person isn't there, even though you know you can stand on your own, there are still so many moments of excess. The stinging reminders that it's just you now.
So how long do your nerves still trigger you in random moments of the day?
When do you finally feel a sense of relief?
I'm not sure.
So for now I'm here.
Just writing and feeling and feeling and writing.
Waiting for the next wave of the phantom love to come through.