“When the sun has set, no candle can replace it.” ~George R.R. Martin
How do we define love?
If by feelings, they are fleeting.
If by actions, they can be misleading.
The problem with defining love by memory is that sometimes we only remember what never happened.
Do we define love by heartbreak?
From experience, I will attest that heartbreak leaves us with a pain that is unbearable. My recollection is that the tightness in my chest made it difficult to breathe. I found myself lost in thought. Except my thoughts were clouded. I found it difficult to sort out one detail from the next. Food had no flavor. Sleep provided no comfort.
My lost love haunted my dreams, elusive as ever.
During my waking hours, I initiated conversations with others to distract myself from thoughts of her. But I never talked about her. I couldn’t. And it wasn’t out of anger or resentment, but because I could not risk letting the break in my voice, or the sadness in my eyes betray me.
The silence, however, when I was alone with my thoughts was perilous. It felt like a shadow that pulled me beneath the surface of a frozen lake and threatened to drown me in sorrow.
The definition of comfort food was lost on me, because I had no appetite. I forced myself to eat for the sake of my own health, but I did not feel satiated. That is because I hungered for her.
I’d consume a glass of scotch or bourbon or whisky every now and again, but after a time, I no longer felt inclined to drown my sorrows.
Instead, I let myself feel the pain.
I memorized it.
I needed to, because it was the only way to break free from the chains of heartache.
That is how I managed to move forward. Not out of want, but out of need, because until made the conscious decision to leave the past where it belonged—on some far away shore in some distant land where exotic rains washed away what remained of forever—I would have been trapped chasing the echo of what never should have been.
Perhaps one cannot exist without the other.
Inhale and exhale, light and dark, need and want, yesterday and tomorrow…the yin and yang of our existence, hers and mine, yours and his, it is a delicate balance. A dichotomy separated by a line that is blurred with tears.
All we’ll remember is what never happened, and all we will forget is what should have been.