I really thought I would be too young to say that. And it took me forever to believe it.
My ex-lover is dead.
It’s a song title, a poem verse, but I never thought it would be a fact of my own life, at least not at this age.
I can’t call him my ex-boyfriend. We never used those kind of titles and when I pursued strolling down that avenue he detoured out quickly… we were complicated.
It started as innocent flirting, then kissing in between rounds of video games or during moonlit strolls around campus.
Then it became trysts when he was off-again with his then girlfriend. Then it became whenever we fucking pleased, in the bushes of courtyards, sneaking pinches of each others asses when we passed each other in hallways, winks, and texts.
Even when his cyclical relationships ended for good, we were never anything official, public, or at all predictable aside from the general knowledge and sense that one way or another, we would slide back into the other’s bed.
We slowed to more annual trysts as the years went on, or at least less frequent power plays and mind games. I tried to distance myself but fall came around as did our final year of classes and when he showed up at my bedroom door I didn’t want to turn him away. Mixture of nostalgia and knowing he knew how to use his tongue in all the right places made it hard to say no again.
I knew I wanted more at first. I even thought I loved him when it started, so many years ago that now the number scares me. But honestly, if it was love or being IN love I’m still not sure. He was my first and dear god was he a revelation. Having never even blown a guy before… he was the best teacher a girl could ever asked for. But I knew from the start we weren’t going to be anything exclusive, or more than what we already were, whatever that even was.
Friends doesn’t feel like the right word to describe us but ex-lovers comes closest. We fucked, we talked, we tore each other to pieces, sometimes all in the same few hours but we never defined it.
He would hop in and out of other beds and relationships. I’d hear about how happy he was one month and the next, or few after, I’d see him at my doorstep or receive a blunt text. We even rendezvoused over seas but he would never admit to me being part of his reason for traveling that summer. He never gave me that kind of power.
But we drifted in the end. He found another and we saw and heard from one another less and less… then I got a message from a classmate asking if I heard, if I knew, if it was true.
I spent the night sobbing. How I got up for work the next day I still don’t even know. The whole day felt warped, distorted and shifting from one extreme to another. One moment everything was muffled and too quiet, the next reality would come shrieking into my eardrums.
Then came the dreams.
He was always revealing that it was some kind of trick, some kind of scam, or cruel joke or experiment he was conducting. He just wanted to see if he could do it. I would scream at him, pound my fists against his chest and we would just smile and laugh, take my hands in his and say, “Calm down, it was just a joke.”
Every time I woke up from this the grief and hollow feeling would flood back in fresh, undiluted, and raw.
The friends that knew about us checked in on me. Called, asked if I was ok, if I was dealing with it alright. I would say that I was fine, never admitting that I was still in denial. I would start to grasp the reality of it but then I would have another one of those dreams, reigniting my need for his heart to still be beating, for there to be even the faintest glimmer of a chance that we would somehow end up back in each others lives again.
I always expected some kind of closure with him. Even when our off again on again tumbles seemed to over, we never really ended. I just felt deep down in my heart that what was between us wasn’t over. I always thought that he was someone I would run into again someday, fuck again someday, fall in love with again someday.
It was so sudden and I was so far away, I found out through facebook… which still sickens me but that’s just the way it was. We grow up with stories and ideas of what life will be like and the one thing that appears absolute is endings. Resolution. Resolve. Lessons learned and those bits of take-homes that we learn and grow from.
But part of growing up is learning that not every story has an ending, or a lesson that you can even begin to comprehend. Some stories don’t have resolutions. Some lovers never reunite, never speak again, sometimes never even learn about how the other ended up. Our story ended, but it didn’t leave it with a conclusion. Closure is a gift, and for better or worse, this only makes me appreciate it more when I can get it.