You Are In My Very Soul

October 18, 2023

Graphic by Caroline Clark 

“The more you know who you are, and what you want, the less you let things upset you.” - Lost In Translation

He loved Star Wars, and I loved him.

That was all the reason I needed to watch the trilogies —  the insatiable desire to know him better, even when I knew him well. To love what he loved. To see him beam when I successfully made a reference. His enthusiasm was the sweetest of delights, and nothing seemed to excite him more than introducing me to his favorite franchise.

A stifled smile would tug at his lips as the momentous music began to play. I stifled my own focus, constantly glancing at him to catch his wholesome reactions. I asked too many questions about The Republic just to hear him nerd out. He’d laugh so fully when I’d gasp at the plot twists I should have seen coming. It was contagious. We’d go a while bickering over whether “It wasn’t that obvious…” before we could take the movie seriously again. And though I was a puffy-eyed disaster, part of me enjoyed grieving through “Revenge of the Sith.” He was just so tender when I cried.

Diving into his world of interests was far from an attempt to fabricate something in common. We already had a natural compatibility so marvelous that the atheist herself began to believe in fate. He inspired me in many ways. His love soothed the cynic behind my eyes. She held many convictions: all marriages are doomed to end, all men are bound to cheat, children destroy individuality, true love is a myth of hormones. Yet here came a rare gentleman to heal all I thought I knew. He spoke so gently, so lovingly, my heart melted and twirled at each exchange. I was always cold, and his skin was always warm.

Maybe I do want kids one day.

I imagined a future with him. Not only imagined, I believed. I believed we were different from the rest, that we were somehow destined to meet. I believed we would last.

Through us, I got to know myself better. Or maybe he made me better, happier, drawing forth the best of me by teaching the best of him: his calming composure, better judgment, and thoughtfulness. Enough date planning even made me decisive. His sense of humor rubbed off on me. He made me feel so pretty. I existed in complete authenticity with him, a special kind you cannot muster with a best friend, or a lover, but only with someone who is both.

I grew with him, into someone I loved. Life clicked into a beautiful harmony, like a winding music box before its dulcet tune plays a heavenly song.

He was all I wanted. My entire creed hung in the balance and I was simply happy to tip the scale his way — as long as he was mine. To love what he loved became my nature, until one inconsistency came to devastate the fact. I began to love myself more, and he began to want me less. I cannot place where things went wrong. I spent so much time right at his side, but his infatuation escaped him through a sigh.

The possibility of the end never existed in my mind, not until the very moment it swallowed me whole. I thought we were still happy. I was. So abruptly, we were done. I sat alone in my car as he walked away, trembling and choked with disbelief.

A nausea settled in my chest that hasn’t gone anywhere since. Was the cynic right all along? I wanted to keep the happy glint in my eye, the skip in my step, but I felt my embroidered heart unraveling rapidly at the seam, back to an aimless, tangled thread.

Anakin Skywalker, the chosen Jedi, so masterful in his craft! Even he could not preserve his relationship; his night terrors foresaw a tragic end to a legendary love. Like Anakin, I had nightmares that came to sabotage something great — nightmares that I’d lose him, that he’d leave. They were disregardable at our best, yet my conscience aches to blame them — to blame anything but him. The bad omens manifested our end. A vain attempt to make sense of something still incomprehensible.

What about me drove him away? Where did all his boundless affection go?
One moment we were infinite, the next we were just too young.

What happened?

I am sick. Sick from chasing an explanation I was never given, and counting reasons that are not there. Maybe we damned ourselves when we talked of getting married at Villa Balbianello, where the queen wed her Jedi. Is this the price of glorifying a couple so wretched?

We talked of getting married.

Now, he is everywhere but with me. He’s in all the gifted trinkets and little paintings arranged across my desk, the stuffed toys smiling at me from my pillows, and the jewelry atop my dresser. He’s in the thousands of pictures in my phone, the dear letters in my closet, every song we loved, our red balcony and our secret rock, my personality, the memories replaying against my lids with every blink.

You are all over my skin.
Your voice echoes in my head.
You are in my very soul, tormenting me.

What do I do with us?

I don’t remember who I was before him. I stand at an utter loss, displaced from home.

Graphic by Caroline Clark

How can I start over?

There is nothing to be done. There is no reflection, no salvation. I can only let time stretch the distance between us. The trouble lies in the slow lull of my days. Sleepless devil’s hours last aching eternities.

How long will it take for me to shed all the skin he once held?

Someday, our memory will float as faraway as a dream. Someday it may look pretty again, the way it was. A pretty thought of a pleasant past that doesn’t sting anymore.

Someday, I’ll wake up anew. Just a girl who loves Star Wars, and every piece of me that was his, then ours, now mine. ■

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