They say there are five stages of grief.
Stage 1: Denial
No, I’m not
I don’t miss you.
I miss you so much that the mere mention of your name renders me powerless
Why did it have to be you?
I don’t know.
There are so many things that, deep in my heart of hearts, I want to tell you, but I refrain. I hold back because of ego, my swollen sense of pride that eclipses my normally rational mind. I’m stuck in a senseless, stupid battle of wills, a war fought by one liner texts, cold shoulders and blatantly ignoring you in hallways.
Ks, instead of okays, GNs instead of goodnights, when the hell did I become illiterate? Why the fuck can’t I talk to you like a normal person? When did sending you a single line of text become so difficult, my thumb hovering over the green and white arrow button as I think for the 50th time whether I should send it or not. In the end, the cursor backtracks, erasing the message that was meant for you and silently I turn off my phone so as not to be tempted to type it all out over again.
I throw myself into my work because if I allow my mind to wander, even for the briefest of moments, all the roads in my conscious thoughts somehow go back to you. So, I work. And I work and work and work until I run myself ragged… to the point where my eyes can barely open and my mind shuts down before my head hits the pillow.
But the torment doesn’t end, because you’re right there, in the blurry nowhere between conscious and unconscious so far yet so close that I could almost touch you, but a shadow, a mere silhouette of the real you that fades as the sun rises. And when I wake up, I don’t know what hurts more, being with the version of you in my head that leaves as soon as I open my eyes, or seeing you but not being able to be with you at all.
Stage 2: Anger
And just as much as I long for you, I hate you almost just as much.
I loathe, abhor you with every cell in my body. But it’s a misdirected anger, one internalised from hours of agonising and aching over you.
I’m not really angry at you. I’m angry at myself.
But it’s easier to blame you rather than compartmentalise my feelings, shove them into a tiny drawer forcing it into the back of my head and praying to every God imaginable that it never resurfaces.
It doesn’t work like that.
So yeah, as much as I love you. I hate you. I hate you for making me feel this way because I’m caged by my own heart. A gilded cage of my own doing, constructed out of my own hubris, of which only you hold the key to, as unknowing and ignorant as you are.
I beg of you, free me.
Stage 3: Bargaining
Friends attempt to console me but their words fall onto deaf ears. Invites go unanswered, lectures go unwatched and interests lose all meaning.
That’s when the insecurities rear their ugly head and the deals begin.
I make deals with myself, with God, with any higher being in the universe who might be listening.
Please just give me one chance.
I plead to no avail because my soul feels just as hollow as it was when you left and it seems that the pain will never, ever stop no matter what I trade for the possibility of your existence in my life.
Stage 4: Depression
So, I turn to other methods.
I attempt to fill the absence of you with others. Meaningless swipes left and right across dating apps, 2AM conversations with other potentials… but none of them come even close and after a while they too fade to the background.
In the struggle to forget you, I make a deal with the bottom of a bottle, exchanging my memories of you along with my sobriety for some peace of mind.
The fiery burn is a sweet soothing relief and for a few hours I can forget you.
Alcohol provides a temporary blindness and ignorance from the harshness of reality but even the most heartbroken of people need to come up for air eventually.
Stage 5: Acceptance
Time doesn’t heal all wounds. But it does lessen the blow.
I come to terms with the fact that you will never be mine, a realisation that on bad days, I still struggle to accept.
But that’s okay.
Because above all, I am still human.
I can and still will be able to live in a world where we will be nothing more than what we are now.
I do not regret falling for you in the first place, but I do resent myself for loving you a bit too deep, falling a bit too fast and realising it a bit too late.
That, in the collective story of me and you, was my one true crime.
By Ashley Lim