Lyrics — "No Other Way" by Jack Johnson, In Between Dreams
"When your mind is a mess
So is mine
I can’t sleep
Cause it hurts when I think"
Most days, I handled the breakup better than people expected me to. On the surface, I acted like everything was okay. I needed to act that way. If I didn’t, I would break, and I couldn’t do that. I held on to certain things to get me through my days — anger, resentment, my own pride. But when I went into my room at the end of the night, and got into my (now) always cold bed, my thoughts would begin to take over.
In the quiet of the night, I could no longer trick myself into believing it was all going to work out. I could no longer pretend that I didn’t hurt. My thoughts would swirl around my mind until the tears ran from my face, and I passed into a sleep that was filled with him. Each day I woke up feeling like there was a huge hole in my stomach, in my heart. My thoughts were consumed by him and I walked around in a haze, zombie-like; existing, but not fully.
"My thoughts aren't at peace
With the plans that we make
Chances we take
They're not yours and not mine"
“Will you have my babies?” He said to me as we stood outside the bar, smoking cigarettes, wrapped up in each other’s arms.
“Yes! We would have the best looking babies,” I said, giggling as I looked up into his dark, handsome face.
“Without a doubt, the cutest babies.”
We talked a lot about our future together. It was more than just the daydreams of young love, because for us, the future seemed to be coming on fast. He had already graduated and I was graduating in May. For the first time in both of our lives, there were no set plans for what lay ahead.
We were planning on moving in together after our leases were up. We were planning on traveling the world together after that, and after that, well, we didn’t have a plan, but we were planning on each other.
"All the words that we said
And the words that we mean
Words can fall short
Can't see the unseen"
He got upset one night. He was unsure about the future, worried about what was to come, as many of us are, and he said to me, “all I know Izzy, is that if I have you by my side, then I’ll be alright. Promise me you won’t leave me. Promise me you’re in this.”
“I’m in this babe. All the way.” I laughed as I kissed him, not sure where his doubt was coming from. We were stronger than I could have ever imagined. I loved him in a deep, true way. I was worried about the future too, but I wasn’t worried about us.
Even still, a pit formed in my stomach that night as I looked at his solemn face, wondering where his pain was coming from, wondering what he was thinking about that I couldn’t sense. I crawled into his lap, kissed his face and told him that I would be there for him, no matter what might come.
“I wouldn’t want it any other way.”
"Well too much silence can be misleading
You're drifting I can hear it in the way that you're breathing
We don't really need to find reason
Cause out the same door that it came
Well it's leaving it's leaving"
In the weeks leading up to the breakup, our relationship changed. We were arguing a lot, about the stupid, meaningless things that sometimes couples argue about. But it seemed like we weren’t able to shake off the fights like we used to be able to.
Each time we fought I could see a shadow forming over his head, darkening and darkening. He was becoming distant and the more distant he became, the tighter I wanted to hang on. But the more I held on, the faster he drifted away.
Sometimes we wouldn’t talk. We would sit in silence, as the silence took on new meaning. My mind raced through the things about myself that could be different, better. Meanwhile, his mind was filling with doubt.
"Leaving like a day that's done and part of a season
Resolve is just a concept that's as dead as the leaves
But at least we can sleep, its all that we need
When we wake we will find
Our minds will be free to go to sleep"
We oscillated back and forth for half a year. As fall turned to winter and worked its way into spring, we got back together, and proceeded to breakup again, three more times. We couldn’t figure out how to make it work, but we couldn’t figure out how to be apart either.
I wanted to be there for him, like I said I was going to be. I told myself it was just a phase, it would pass. Some nights I laid next to him, feeling his body wrapped around mine, thinking to myself that I had never been happier. Other mornings, I’d wake up and his body would be across the bed, tucked into the corner, out of my grasp. I’d wake up on those mornings, as my mind swirled and my anxiety built, and I’d know that I was losing him again.
"And know that if I knew
All of the answers I would
Not hold them from you'd
Know all the things that I'd know
We told each other, there is no other way."
I wish I knew why it all had to happen the way it did. I wish I knew if it was because we were too young, too scared, too stupid, too much in love, too much in doubt; whether it was because we knew too much, had grown too skeptical, felt too stuck, or felt too free.
When we broke up the first time, I couldn’t break because I didn’t believe it was over. But when our break up actually felt real, I couldn’t break because I could. Losing him was about more than just losing a lover and a best friend, it was about losing a future, losing a life together.
I might not ever know exactly what went wrong between us. Some days, I let myself become wrapped up in it, questioning it, and cursing the months and moments that tore us apart.
Somedays I fret because I still I don’t know how to get over something that I didn’t want to lose and I don’t know how not to love someone I thought I would never have to live without.
But one thing I do know is this — even if I never know all of the answers; even if a part of my soul always remains a little lost, I'll keep moving forward. I'll know that this pain will heal. I won’t remain caught up in the past, because life happens in the present. There is no other way.