This Is How I Start Over Without You

It’s been a while since you left in both senses of the word—out of my life and out of what used to be our city. The city that will never quite be your home. I stayed, for I really had no choice. Of course, those who have been left out are always the ones who have to pick up the pieces.

Ever since you decided to walk away from my life forever, I escaped to a different part of the city. Every corner and path reminded me of you. Each street was filled with our precious moments together. Thus, I thought my only option was to avoid them and deny that they even existed. 

I wasn’t strong enough to replay the events highlighting our bloom and our eventual crash and burn. But then again, it’s been a while since you had left. 

I could barely remember the feel of your hand in mine whenever we walked together or the way you would hug me goodbye as you brought me to my flat. I could barely recall the way you smiled or the sound of your laughter as we watched the sunset at the nearby park. I could barely recognize who you were anymore.

So I guess it’s time.

If there’s one thing I realized the day you left, it’s that people could be easily replaced. Although new memories take a harder time to make, I need to start somewhere.

So there I was, reliving every single step we took from our first date, tracing the path towards our favorite ramen place and reminiscing about the days when you made me feel warmer than our usual order.

There I was, passing by your flat, which was just blocks away from my own, staring at your old bedroom window and looking back on times when you never made me feel alone inside it.

There I was, finally accepting that you didn’t intend to stay long, realizing this will always be my city, and starting to find myself again—the version of me before you came into my life.

I found myself standing still on the corner where you and I first met. My final destination was where it all started, and oddly enough, I didn’t feel a thing. The only reason I looked back was so I could get a brand new start.

I start by refusing to stay idle and be paralyzed in one part of the city just because the rest of it contains our old memories.

I start by not letting the ever-consuming nostalgia and melancholy distract me from enjoying my time in the city that I almost call my home.

I start by creating new and better memories as I say goodbye and replace the bittersweet reminders of you.

Today, I walked the same streets alone. With that, I began again, and I moved forward with only myself once again.