“His trumpet was here. His entire Eugene Foote collection… vinyls and CDs… His grandmother’s picture was by the bed. His lucky scrub cap was hanging on the door. He’s gone.” – Christina Yang, Grey’s Anatomy
I remember the day I realized he had gone. I had been avoiding the truth of it for three weeks, hoping that this time around, he really had just been too busy getting his life together, hoping that somehow he had dropped his phone into the Falls, even hoping that something bad had actually happened to keep him away for so long. And when the realization finally forced itself upon me, I wasn’t surprised; it was the sign I had needed for so long to help me let it all go, because I knew, given the fact that nothing had ever been defined, there was nothing to stop him from leaving. I had already imagined it happening long ago, preparing myself to handle it the best way possible if and when it happened, and yet knowing at the same time that if and when it happened, all the preparation in the world would not be enough.
I knew I could have avoided it; the red flags had been whipping madly in my face for months, but I hadn’t had the courage to take them down or walk away from them. For weeks I wondered what I did wrong to drive him away, what was wrong with me that he had always been determined to keep me a secret. I was in love with him (or was I?) and I was willing to endure the pain for what little happiness I could get, and I paid the price for it. And after that I knew, just like all the others before him, I would never let anyone do that to me again; I made all the promises I had made many times before — never to let anyone hurt me again, never to allow myself to give up everything the way I had again, never to fall in love again.
But fall in love again I did, and along with that came all the old fears, but now, more present than all the rest, is the fear of what happened last year happening all over again — to sit around wondering why I don’t hear from him, overanalyzing everything I’ve said and done to figure out where I’ve gone wrong, wondering why I’ve just never been good enough, and fearing that one day I’ll wake up and realize he’s gone and I’ve been just as stupid as I was all those other times, and yet knowing at the same time that I have absolutely no call to be feeling any of this, because deep down I know that he was probably never really here in the first place.