A Letter to the Non-Ex
Yellow sticky notes decorate the wall behind my headboard. They bear words I have been collecting since I was nineteen – quotes, song lyrics, poems etc. One quote I am particularly fond of is by Nayyirah Waheed,
‘grieve. So you can be free to feel something else.’
Adjacent to this wall is my healing wall which has seen me through a lot of heartbreaks and disappointments. Whenever I am too overwhelmed to get out of bed, I stare at this wall and shut everything else out until I am ready to face the world again. I could stay there for hours or even an entire day. There, I get to confront my demons and make peace with them.
The next ritual is usually getting into the shower and washing away the lethargy, sweat and dried tears. After that, I put on my revenge dress – any killer outfit basically and an attitude that is sure to be a middle finger in the faces of the forces that tried to break me – and go out into the world ready to live again. This is a side of me that I really wanted you to meet, but I was afraid you would find it lame.
My revenge dress hasn’t felt right for some time now because when you left I couldn’t grieve. I didn’t know how to, because how do you grieve a break up from a non-relationship? Hold up. Is it even a break up if it wasn’t a relationship – no labels, no expectations, no ground rules, no strings attached? I couldn’t even grieve you as a friend because even that label didn’t fit. Lawd, I thought I had everything about non-relationships figured out. I guess I missed the chapter on ‘How to move on from your non-relationship’.
I miss the passion that lights up your eyes when you nerd out about Anime and Star Wars. I miss how your determination to win every argument made me hot every time. I miss your spontaneity, and if I never said it before that dance we did in the rain at 3 a.m. is the best I’ve ever had. I long to taste ice-cream on your lips again, and listen to sex dripping from your voice as you whisper in my ear, “I want you.” I’m finally admitting to myself that I miss you and that it’s alright to do so.
So Bella, I’m writing this more for me than for you. This is me making peace with the pain of losing you so I can be free to feel something else. I’m not fighting back tears anymore as I bring you to my healing wall. I tell myself that you came into my life for a purpose and once you fulfilled it you had to leave. I once read somewhere that things have a natural lifespan and if you are lucky, they will find that endpoint before it gets tired and becomes a parody of itself. I want to believe that we were lucky. I want ours to be the non-relationship that went out in fireworks as opposed to fading away like the dying embers of a fire.
Tonight, my revenge dress is a fiery red. Bold, sensual, unapologetic. And it fits just right.
For what it’s worth, I guess in my own special way, I loved you.
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