This Is How You Lose Her

Ana Iris once asked me if I loved him and I told her about the lights in my old home in the capital, how they flickered and you never knew if they would go out or not. You put down your things and you waited and couldn't do anything really until the lights decided. This, I told her, is how I feel.

And because love, real love, is not so easily shed.

And that's when I know it's over. As soon as you start thinking about the beginning, it's the end.

A person doesn't mourn forever.

but back then, in those first days, I was so alone that every day was like eating my own heart.

I can see myself watching him shave every morning. And at other time I see us in that house and see how one bright day (or a day like this, so cold your mind shifts every time the wind does) he will wake up and decide it's all wrong. I'm sorry, he'll say. I have to leave now.

I guess it's true what they say: if you wait long enough everything changes.

I just want some space to myself every now and then. Every time I’m with you I have this sense that you want something from me.

I'm like everybody else: weak, full of mistakes, but basically good.

I sat down next to her. Took her hand. This can work, I said. All we have to do is try.

It's just a matter of willpower. The day you decide it's over, it's over. You never get over it.

Our relationship wasn't the sun, the moon, the stars, but it wasn't bullshit, either.

Out of nowhere you said, I love you. For whatever it's worth.

Sadness at being caught, at the incontrovertibe knowledge that she will never forgive you.

She's sensitive, too. Takes to hurt the way water takes to paper.

...sometimes a start is all we ever get.

That was the summer when everything we would become was hovering just over our heads.

The half-life of love is forever.

Then you look at her and smile a smile your dissembling face will remember until the day you die. Baby, you say, baby, this is part of my novel.

This is how you lose her.

The truth is there ain’t no relationship in the world that doesn’t hit turbulence.

This is what I know: people's hopes go on forever.

You ask everybody you know: How long does it usually take to get over it?

There are many formulas. One year for every year you dated. Two years for every year you dated. It's just a matter of will power: The day you decide it's over, it's over. You never get over it.

You don't want to let go, but don't want to be hurt, either. It's not a great place to be but what can I tell you?

You eventually erase her contact info from your phone but not the pictures you took of her in bed while she was naked and asleep, never those.

You keep waiting for the heaviness to leave you. You keep waiting for the moment you never think about the ex again. It doesn't come.

You're the only person I've ever met who can stand a bookstore as long as I can.

You said i could call you when i wanted but that you wouldn’t call me. you have to decide where and when, you said. if you leave it up to me i’ll want to see you every day.

At least you were honest, which is more than i can say for me.

You try every trick in the book to keep her. You write her letters. You drive her to work. You quote Neruda. You compose a mass e-mail disowning all your sucias. You block their e-mails. You change your phone number. You stop drinking. You stop smoking. You claim you’re a sex addict and start attending meetings. You blame your father. You blame your mother. You blame the patriarchy. You blame Santo Domingo. You find a therapist. You cancel your Facebook. You give her the passwords to all your e-mail accounts. You start taking salsa classes like you always swore you would so that the two of you could dance together. You claim that you were sick, you claim that you were weak—It was the book! It was the pressure!—and every hour like clockwork you say that you’re so so sorry. You try it all, but one day she will simply sit up in bed and say, No more, and, Ya, and you will have to move from the Harlem apartment that you two have shared. You consider not going. You consider a squat protest. In fact, you say won’t go. But in the end you do.

You try every trick in the book to keep her. You write her letters. You quote Neruda. You cancel your Facebook. You give her the passwords to all your e-mail accounts. Because you know in your lying cheater’s heart that sometimes a start is all we ever get.

You whispered my full name and we fell asleep in each other's arms and I remember how the next morning you were gone, completely gone, and nothing in my bed or the house could have proven otherwise.