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Separated.

Same old furniture, new setting.


I find myself laying across my sofa again; plastic wrapped in all its glory. I watch the candle’s flame glimmer against the gloom of these living room walls. Tarjay’s Red Mandarin & Guava scent never disappoints.


Tonight’s a rainy night. I’ve got a laundry list of things to do, and yet, I stare through the darkness at my half-unpacked apartment intently listening to my new neighbor’s kitchen karaoke version of Avant’s “Separated”.


“When we were together, we never turned out backs on each other; but now that we’re separated, we can’t stand one another.”


Her voice rises through my living room floor, and our pains join forces to sing along together. You can always tell when lyrics resonate with a woman. We tend to sing a little louder, pushing the pain from the depths of our wombs like a mother in labor delivering the burden she’s silently carried for however long. I felt her pain from upstairs. It’s been a month since you dropped that bomb on me… you know… the one Carl Thomas sang about in ‘I Wish’. Not that you were unhappily married with children (yet), but that you were expecting your firstborn child with your ex-fiancé. One drunken night filled with unprotected passion all the while attempting to reconcile with me, the “love of your life”. Your words not mine.


Early on, I’d never have painted you to be a liar, but now that I see the bigger picture, I realize I was naive to have willingly believed a lot of what you said.


My antennas were finally working.

There was no night of drinking. You willingly slipped up inside her and released. This wasn’t the first time either. All those nights over the last two years where our plans would fall to their deaths without notice, make so much more sense now. Those spontaneous last-minute vacations to these tropical places where my invite was clearly lost in transit - not coincidental at all. This was an ongoing fling. She never left the picture, and I was simply a placeholder while you two worked on reconciliation. Silly of me to think that I was ever the end goal for you.


The more frustrated I became, the higher the flame danced. As if she were mirroring my feelings of rage turned resentment from her wax base.


For months after our end, you’d reach out. Begging for forgiveness. Expressing how deeply you missed “home” here with me. You lied so much that I think even you might’ve believed we were something we’d never be.


The whistle from the tea kettle saves me from what would’ve been a steep stumble down the rabbit hole. One that’d take me back into the thoughts and memories I fight so hard to suppress. Apartment 89 has graduated from Avant to Eamon’s “I don’t want you back”.


As I watch the steam rise from the teabag steeping in the water, my pain escapes my lips a little more passionately than the song before.

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