Long time no blog, right?
I must apologise sincerely to my loyal fandom for going MIA for so long. This year has been absolutely hectic (which I'm sure most of you can relate to), and honestly, I've been thinking a lot about my blog and how I want it to express 'me' more. Doing a weekly blog just wasn't cutting it for me. So I've decided, with all things considered, to include all sorts of writing; be it poetry, short stories, essays, whatever.
It's really important to me to stay true to who I am and I want to express every facet of that person through my writing. So! This week I'm going to begin with a short story I recently entered into a writing comp. Although I could go on editing forever, I came to a point of contentment with the piece, and this is the result. It's called Fourteen Days, and I considered telling you what it's about, but what fun would that make the reading of it, right? Any which way, I'm sure this will be relatable to most -- if not all -- of you.
Please feel free to give feedback or leave comments below! Remember this is copyrighted, too, so no reposting is allowed. Thanks.
April third was unusually sunny and warm for its season, like a twisted parallel universe turning the view upside down and spitting it back in our faces. Everything crept up on us all at once, like it does on the random citizen whose face changes when they realise they’re a part of the latest Ellen prank. The day said nothing of what was coming for us. It wasn’t like the movies where the girl is left standing alone under a black umbrella in the middle of a field, staring into the distance as the dot figure love interest disappears. April third was two weeks ago, fourteen days from today.
It’s been two weeks, but two weeks away from you has taught me that you’re not really gone. April third was the beginning of our end, an end that should’ve ended on April third but fourteen days later is still ending. You’ve been here every day since April third, and only today I could see it. Only today I finally understand why the itch in my throat hasn’t gone away, and why everything about you still moves and breathes in my life.
Your number was gone after six days of telling myself it was useless because I memorised it already, the way I memorised everything else about you. I decided to delete it anyway; to be sure it was out of my phone even if it would never leave my mind. I erased every text we shared over post-date skip-beats as my thumbs raced around the keypad in tiny taps to keep up with my speeding pulse. I filtered every text until the floating letters jumbled themselves in my thoughts and exhausted day six in a mess of Helvetica Neue.
On day seven I made a point of clearing the last of your words, and cleaned you out of my inbox. Every e-mail that consumed me in your words while you were away and the distance wasn’t too much was gone on day seven. Fourteen days later, the distance won’t take you away from me, and I’m still figuring out how that’s possible. April third was the end, but it’s not, it wasn’t, and all the distance in the world hasn’t taken you away. The simplicity of it all has spun me into a complicated web of confusion and I don’t know how to extricate myself from it.
On day one I threw out the roses which were already eight days overdue and had shed half their petals by then, littering the tabletop with the scarlet-wrinkled scraps of our last days. I wrapped them in your favourite page of The New York Times, the last issue we shared and left open on the counter. The unfinished Sudoku puzzle stared back at me as your tiny handwritten numbers crumpled themselves around the rose stems, as far gone and incomplete as fourteen days away from watching you try to outdo your last record and never finishing. You didn’t even make it halfway that day because I distracted you for the last time, but I’m sure you’ll try again one day if you haven’t already. I watched the thorns pierce through the greyscale of your last effort as I wrapped them up, and took them out to the kerb where your puzzle will never be finished.
Day two was the grey area between returning your scarf and throwing out the pasta I kept in the fridge after you burned your finger on the pot and we laughed ourselves into tears at your swollen pinkie. Our whole world was erased in fourteen days, but it’s been a lifetime since day one, and a lifetime of erasing your life from mine.
I cried for the better part of day three, an orphaned child lost and shivering as I let out the backlog of emotions accumulated since that February night. I cried for every night I didn’t since April third and every night you’d seen me cry since the first time. We were only starting to get serious the day his condition got too serious and Socrates was put down. All comfort and no judgement, you held me in the parking lot at the Vet, stroking my hair as I broke down ugly and desperate into your chest with nothing else to cling to but my best friend’s collar.
I don’t remember much of day four, except that I took a morning jog to rid my mind of your last words and stopped at a new breakfast diner we’d never been to. It was different to the one we discovered after our first night in the apartment when all our things were still taped in cardboard boxes and labelled in black Sharpie. It was still close enough to remind me of it all, naïve to think I could let it go in four days and replace something like this, our place, in one morning jog. It was like, they say, buying the wrong spare part, replacing your favourite book to find out the special edition was discontinued a month ago, jogging into a new breakfast diner with a smile made of smattering ignorance with only four days without you like it would be that simple.
On day five I resurfaced and tossed out the mix tape you made me last September when I fractured my ankle at the lake house and we had to cut our holiday short. It played in the background as we shared takeaway Thai and the Autumn leaves busied themselves baring the lonely trees outside. It played for the two weeks I was bed-ridden with nothing to entertain me but reruns of The Blacklist and a collection of classic books none of our friends liked, your mix tape taking me through it all again. I stuffed it into the garbage along with the Get Well Soon card and the mocking teddy bear, furry arms wrapped around a crimson heart.
I remembered the Chanel no. 5 on day eight and poured it down the sink, rinsing away every last drop you’ll never smell on my neck again.
On day nine I stripped the walls of your face, stripped the memories and the arms around my waist. On day ten I tore the sheets off my bed, washed your scent from my pillow cases and replaced the Love Doona with the plain blue sheet set my mother bought us when we first moved in and didn’t care about colour schemes or matching furniture. It was only on day eleven I flushed all the sticky notes you left around the room, every last post-it you’re unforgettable and every crumpled I love you that lost their stick and curled into themselves on my mirror like yellow spiral shells. They’re gone, and it’s all gone, but you’re not and it’s making me crazy.
On day twelve I cut up the old gym card membership with the picture they took the day after I got promoted and you organised a surprise weekend in Cali. I stared at my favourite black bikini for twenty minutes before I put it into a bag with everything else I kept from that weekend and drove it to the nearest thrift store. I left your sand-specked kisses there along with the rest of it.
Yesterday was day thirteen. Thirteen was our lucky number, and there’s a sense of almost-happy relief in knowing it’s day fourteen today and that I’ve made it through day thirteen. Now I can throw it out too, along with the last of the things I found in the folds of my wallet. It wasn’t until day thirteen that I realised the fridge was empty and decided to make a trip to the grocery store for the first time in fourteen days, and found the last pieces of you – of us – creased and bulky in my wallet.
I didn’t wait to unload the shopping before I unloaded the wallet of everything left of you. I took out the voucher we won for the bottle of Merlöt that was left unclaimed, the bottle we never celebrated because by then the only special occasion was your uncle’s funeral and the timing was all wrong for it. I slipped it into my wallet and forgot about it until yesterday.
I took out the Coldplay tickets from last month when things didn’t seem so bad. I took out the first note you ever wrote me, the note I kept in my wallet so I could read it whenever I was having a bad day. I pulled out the creased postcard that didn’t fit because the stretch of Chicago’s skyscrapers along Lake Michigan was too long and I folded it to fit so I could keep you with me while you were away for work. A lifetime of separating our lives in fourteen days, and all that was left of it were the things in my wallet I forgot to get rid of until day thirteen.
All of those things were just pieces of paper that weigh next to nothing and take up next to no space. And all of those things were heavy in my wallet and full in the memories I couldn’t stand, so I got rid of it all. They were the paper-value scraps of the world, and the last remnants of the world we built. It was all those small things that filled my life with you and weighed me down everywhere I went until day thirteen.
It’s day fourteen today. The day it all started was the fourteenth, but today I’m going to take back the first date and every last remnant of you and that February night and everything in between. It was perfect, is what I never told you, and I’m so glad but I never got it out and it’s been stitched in my throat ever since. I’m getting it out now, before it’s too late and today spills into tomorrow and I have to spend another day draining you out. You had all my days, stole every one of my nights since that night, and now it’s the fourteenth night without you and I can’t stand you taking another one.
It’s day fourteen and you’re not on my mirror or my skin or in my wallet, flat and empty since I cleaned it out. I got rid of everything we shared, every last piece of you and me and everything in between. For the last time, I searched the place for any shred of you I might have missed, leaving nothing to chance as your voice filled my head and made me turn around half-expecting to see you at the door. I held onto nothing, but I still feel everything, and I have nothing left to throw away. My everything is empty and full and I don’t know which feels worse.
I could go over all the details of how it happened, and I have ever since you left, but I know that analysing every detail and explaining it all over again couldn’t have changed a thing. We were a distorted puzzle, sweeping our tiny apartment for the missing pieces that were already gone gone gone. We couldn’t stop it, stupid to think so and dream of what if’s now when it doesn’t matter anymore. Then one day turned into five into fourteen, and sitting here I realise how naïve I was, thinking you’d be gone in a day like every bad habit at New Year’s. It’s day fourteen and you’re still here. You’re in my dreams and my memories and I smell you when I roll over at night and feel you while I’m sleeping.
Today is day fourteen, and it’s the first day since you left that I realised you never really did.