I still think of her sometimes, even seventeen years later. She comes to me in dreams every few months, looking just as she did then, with a questioning look in her eyes, before fading away yet again. But she also slides into my thoughts in the daytime hours, while I’m doing mundane things, like driving my car or brushing my teeth. And it’s not because I miss her — I really miss the idea of her more than anything — but because we never really had closure.
There are some times in our lives when we do get closure, when a door slams shut in our faces and we know precisely why. We are forewarned by a series of events that lead up to it, and we say, “Okay, that door is going to slam soon.” We mentally prepare ourselves, as if the final event is a prolonged march to death. It’s not that we like it, but at least we know it’s coming. I was blindsided, though, by the absence of her.
It was my fault, too, why she had to distance herself so dramatically, so quickly, which is probably why it still haunts me on occasion to this day. And I wonder how badly I really hurt her. We never took that moment to talk about it, to discuss the extent of her pain, and I understand why. It just wasn’t going to be helpful to her right then, when it was as raw as an open cut.
But it wasn’t just that either. We were as close to each other as our own skin, so the tearing away was difficult for both of us, and the person we would have talked to about it was the one person we couldn’t bring ourselves to talk to. See, when I lost her I lost more than just a paramour. I also lost a best friend, and I needed to grieve the loss of that friend. At the time I never did. I kept hoping some day she would come back to me, that we would at least talk it out, but that never happened.
I still feel the absence of her, in those moments when it gets too quiet and my mind has room to breathe. But my soul has moved on to a safer place where I don’t feel as vulnerable as I probably am. I hope hers has too, that she can be at peace with the role I played in her life, for better or for worse, and that she doesn’t wrestle with those demons that can tend to slide into the grooves left behind by lost love.
And closure, were it ever so real, might still claim me as its own some day. When I’ve stopped looking for it.