How It Happened: Break Down of the Breakup

Two months ago, I woke up. I couldn't remember any feelings from the past six months. I could recall events that happened and even some conversations, but they weren't my memories. I was numb to those six months and remembering was like reciting the alphabet. They meant nothing to me.

I spent the past two months doing what any twenty-something would when they've suddenly found themselves emotionally unattached to anything. I went to find excitement. I went to find feelings. I looked at the bottom of empty bottles and shot glasses, in the eyes of strange men who would no longer be that strange by the end of the night, in the pills that would sometimes disintegrate as I smuggled them in my bra so I'd have to swallow the tissue I'd inexperiencedly wrapped them, in the herbal smoke that choked my already asthmatic lungs.

I went to Vegas and I went to Vegas and I went to Vegas. I lusted for the drugs that would inject my system with happiness. I craved to be in the midst of sweaty dancing bodies because then I wouldn't be alone. I was synthetically happy and superficially surrounded by company. If I couldn't remember anything, I would make new memories to look fondly back on.

I thought I was happy. I thought that I had successfully moved on without having to deal with much pain. I thought I could just shut him out and distract myself and everything would be okay. I thought wrong.

Two months ago, I couldn't remember anything because I didn't want to. I deleted every piece of him I could find. The songs he'd shared with me? Deleted. The pictures of our adventures? Deleted. The "I love you” and "Good Morning!" and "Good Night :)" texts-- Delete. Delete. Delete! He hurt me and he was not allowed to hurt me anymore. He wasn't going to be a part of my new life.

A month ago, I started casually seeing a new guy. On paper, he was everything I could want. I slept with him on our second date. I'd gotten so used to sleeping with men right away at this point. As I pressed my cheek against his chest that rose and fell with every breath, my mind escaped me.

I was suddenly transported to a cliff on the side of a quiet isolated highway in the middle of the night. It was below 30 degrees Fahrenheit and my eyes had just begun adjusting to the darkness of the calm forest below me. I sat in the passenger's side of a parked car and watched as the moon descended behind it.

"Do you see that?" He asked.

My eyes sprung open and I immediately got out of the car.

"Oh my god!!!"

My heart accelerated and I began to jump in excitement. When I looked over, he was out of the car, too, smiling from ear to ear. He was half watching me and half watching the sky illuminate. It had always been my dream to see the Aurora Borealis and now here they were coloring the sky with their brilliance. We held each other in awe as our eyes twinkled for the lights and for each other.

And then I was back with my left arm holding on to this foreign body in my bed. I looked up at him and he was smiling with his eyes closed. In that moment, I was glad he couldn't read my mind because my stomach was churning. I felt sick.

What was that?

A week ago, when the blackness of the past six months no longer seemed so cold and scary, I reopened the portal. I was curious. What actually happened? Did I really love him the way I thought I did? Because I feel nothing now. But what about that memory from a month ago? I had to find out.

I started with the worst of it. Or maybe the best of it? It was an album of our last trip together. It was both our number one destination on our bucket lists: Alaska. I had always wanted to see the Aurora Borealis and he had always wanted to go on a helicopter tour of the glaciers. We weren't able to capture the northern lights on camera because it was too dark. That only lives in my mind now. But there were pictures of me sitting in the front of the helicopter next to the pilot. It was my first time in a helicopter and although the tour was Joseph's dream, he wanted me to experience sitting up front. He always thought of my happiness before his own.

I began to cry. The memory of our trip suddenly drowned me. I had been an empty vessel for a while and was now quickly filling back up with life. I remembered thinking during our trip that if we had only been dating longer, it would have been a perfect time for him to propose to me. It was easily the best trip of both of our lives. I know because we said it to each other. Instead he did the opposite.

A few days after we got back, he became distant and stopped communicating with me as much. Something felt wrong. He reassured me that everything was okay but it didn't feel okay. He told me he was just busy with his family who were in town for the week and he wanted to focus on them since he only saw them once a year. Rationally, it made sense but my gut told me otherwise.

The Alaska album ended so I opened another one, our camping trip to Yosemite. I took him on his first camping trip ever and he was so happy. There was a picture of us kissing on the trail, a few pictures of a bear we were stalking, some pictures of the camp fire and in no time, that album was done, too. So I opened another one. It was when we went to Las Vegas for my family reunion and he met my entire extended family. They loved him. Of course they did. Not enough clicks later, that was over, too. Soon after, I was holding the right arrow key on the keyboard with the last album on my screen but nothing was happening. I had reached the last of our pictures. This can't be it, can it? There HAS to be more memories! I want more. I cried myself to sleep.

I remember now.

I am suddenly flooded with memories. I remember everything. I remember him being so excited to introduce me to all his friends and family. How he'd work himself exhausted every week so he'd be able to spend the entire weekend with me, uninterrupted. How even though he had always been a home body, he suddenly wanted to explore the world because he knew it's what made me happiest. How he told me he had been feeling complacent in life for a while before we started dating and then I came along and he realized I was his purpose in life. Making me happy made him happy. We were exactly what we needed at the time.

I remember us talking about our feelings and him not saying much. He would get a frustrated look on his face. "I'm not good with words," he'd said. I could tell from the look in his eyes how much he loved me. I knew from his actions how much he loved me. He had told me every day for what felt like a long time how much he loved me. And now he won't talk to me at all.

A week after our trip, we finally saw each other again. It was Saturday morning. We'd hardly talked all week and had gotten into a fiery argument Thursday night. We'd never had one of those before. We'd had disagreements but not arguments. We'd always prided ourselves in being understanding of each other and never getting into arguments. Something had changed. His mood had changed. His mind had changed.

I had been crying for an entire week and was extremely sleep deprived. I walked to his parked car. He got out with his head was hung low. I thought he didn't care about me anymore. He'd been ignoring me all week. I was surprised to see that he looked like he had been crying, too.

"Hi," His voice was soft as we both made our way to each other.

"Hi," I tried to say but the word got struck in my throat. Nothing came out and I started crying again.

He hugged me and I clung on so he wouldn't let go. It was bittersweet. I missed him so much and having his arms around me again felt toxic and intoxicating. I broke down and started hyperventilating. He'd never seen me like this.

"I'm sorry." He whispered after a while.

"I know." I said.

We held each other to the sound of stifled sobs.

"I know this isn't easy for you." I had calmed down enough to finally get out a full sentence. "I just want to know that you're sure this is the right thing to do."

"I am."


Long pause.

"I want you to know that Alaska was the best trip of my life and it was mostly because of you." My heart skipped a beat to hear him say that. Also bittersweet.

"You're the best boyfriend I've ever had." I replied.

"That makes me even sadder." His eyes were swollen with tears.

And that was it. We had one last sad, sweet kiss and he drove away. I haven't seen him since.

I wish I could tell you that something miraculous and amazing happened but it didn't. I wish I could tell you that my broken heart healed surprisingly fast and that it didn't hurt that much but I can't. I've felt every painful second that's gone by since we broke up. I thought I would be over him by now but I'm not. I was in love with him and he broke my heart. There's no shortcut for healing.

My body went into shock after we broke up and my feelings went numb. I began to question what we had and my feelings for him. I confused my numbness with being healed. I realize now that I won't be over him for a very long time and that's okay. I don't have to get over him really fast. I'm allowed to feel sad. I'm allowed to miss him. I'm allowed to feel. I'm allowed to take my time. I shouldn't reject my feelings. I just need to understand and learn from them.

So I remember now. I allow myself to. I really loved him.