When you left I lay there for nights on end, staring up at the ceiling, memorizing the shadows cast there by the street lights outside, listening as the heater clicked on and blew too-hot air at me and then waiting for it to turn back off.

I lay there listing in my head the reasons why you left, filing them away, stacking them up, shuffling them around, reorganizing them, examining them, turning them over and over again, all in the hopes of seeing the why more clearly.

I lay there night after night, unable to sleep, crying, waiting for the world to wake up, listening for the sounds of life outside so I could know I wasn’t alone, thinking to myself that I was unloved, unlovable.

I lay there in our my bed feeling pathetic and lost, blaming myself and thinking I was the one at fault, thinking if I had just done this or that differently, you’d have loved me enough to try.

When you left, I lay here, broken. But since we stopped being “we” I have come to realize I have been freed – free now to do all of those things I thought I’d never do because I was with you.

I lie here now, changed.

I lie here knowing I don’t owe you anything.

I lie here thinking that you were just as much at fault as I was, that it wasn’t only I who wouldn’t change.

I lie here now, hopeful, listening to the world outside my window, knowing I get to be a part of it, thinking that one day I will find someone who deserves my love, and I will be loved, am lovable.

I lie here with the sun casting bright morning light onto my covers, thinking this is my chance, my chance to make my life anything I want without having to worry about how it will effect the someone else in my life.

I’m here! It’s happening! Let’s get this thing moving. No more moping. No more crying over you. No more dwelling on everything you ever did to hurt me.

No more.

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REBECCA ADLER is from Sacramento, CA, where she is a grad student in applied linguistics and works as a freelance journalist. Her work has appeared in Jane & Jane, Sacramento Business Journal, and Comstock's Business Magazine, among others. She also keeps a book review blog and can be found on Facebook or Twitter.

One response to “When We Stopped Being “We””

  1. Original Comment Thread Below:


    Comment by John
    2009-03-20 15:08:28

    Beautiful. I’d like to say more, but that was just beautiful.
    Reply to this comment
    Comment by Rebecca Adler
    2009-03-20 19:19:46

    Aw, thanks John.
    Reply to this comment

    Comment by Zsofia McMullin
    2009-03-20 15:34:57

    That was really lovely. Thank you.
    Reply to this comment
    Comment by Rebecca Adler
    2009-03-20 19:20:10

    You’re welcome 🙂 Thanks for reading!
    Reply to this comment

    Comment by Marni Grossman
    2009-03-20 15:43:38

    You get the best revenge: being able to write a beautiful, poignant piece about the break-up. He, on the other hand, has nothing to show for it. Except, of course, your gaping absence.
    Reply to this comment
    Comment by Rebecca Adler
    2009-03-20 19:25:00

    Heh. I like to think I’ve left a gaping hole in his life, but somehow I think it’s a smaller hole than the one he left here for me. Such is life. I’m sewing that hole up though – slowly, but surely.
    Reply to this comment
    Comment by John
    2009-03-21 04:47:27

    (Most) guys are pretty decent and seeming way more detached than we really are. I have a feeling that you will be the kind of ex that “haunts” a guy way down the road. He’ll probably wake up one day in a cold sweat after a very realistic dream and think to himself “what the hell was I thinking?!”
    Seriously, pretty much every guy I know has at least one ex that will come up in conversation here and there in the context of “the one who got away.” I don’t see any evidence as to why you won’t be that one for him.
    So take comfort in that. Months and years after he is long gone from your mind, you’ll still be haunting his.
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    Comment by Amanda
    2009-03-21 07:42:10

    This is lovely, lovely, lovely.

    I’ve been trying to write down all the things going on post-breakup, too…it’s amazing to read back through posts from the past three months and realise how much has fallen into place…beginning with devastated, sad stories, then wishy-washy lonely sounding ones…then super-angry ones…and now, lighter, freer ones.

    Remember your “empty side of the bed” post? Then compare it to this fresh one.

    Happy spring! Happy life-all-your-own!

    : )
    Reply to this comment

    Comment by jmb
    2009-03-21 09:12:03

    but not quite the same
    as the scars that remain
    fade I am
    stronger stranger
    weaker smarter
    deeper further
    than ever before
    Reply to this comment

    Comment by Kimberly M. Wetherell
    2009-03-21 10:29:29

    I wish I knew the ‘right’ way to comment on this. It moved me because I’ve been there. It scared me, because I fear being there again. Not the good part but… well… you know.

    They say that which does not kill us makes us stronger, but that which does not kill us still hurts a motherfucking lot.

    But I loved that you’ve healed enough to share this.

    Reply to this comment

    Comment by Autumn Kindelspire
    2009-03-22 14:18:53

    Bravo. It is a beautiful, remarkable day indeed when we wake up and realize: I will survive this. Hell, I might even be better off.

    My divorce drove me mad, but the first morning I woke up and realized I was going to live was kind of like breaking the surface of very dark water. Water I’d been drowning in for 6 months.

    I’m glad you’ve woken up, emerged from the dark, and seen the dawn and found that is lovely and brimming with possibilities.
    Reply to this comment
    Comment by Amanda
    2009-03-22 15:38:52

    The day you realise you feel “normal” for the first time in ages is pretty magical, isn’t it?

    : )
    Reply to this comment

    Comment by josie
    2009-03-22 19:41:20

    From doubt to hope, from dark to light, from night to day, from then to now. What a beautiful transformation.
    Reply to this comment

    Comment by Megan
    2009-03-23 16:21:55

    Hey Rebecca, like Kimberly I struggled with what to respond to this. It was painful to read your pain, and remember my own in a similar time. But you sound cautiously optimistic and that’s awesome.

    I don’t do this to be a douche – I’m linking to a post I wrote referencing things that helped me post breakup. I hope one of them can bring you a measure of comfort.
    Reply to this comment

    Comment by Rebecca Adler
    2009-03-23 17:22:55

    MLP: Not douchy at all. To be perfectly honest, in the first days of my break up the first thing I did was go back and read your post-breakup posts. Partially because I remember them being really on point and partially because I was scared to death that I might post something too similar to what you had posted. I think you gave great advice and it did help me, so thanks for posting it again here where others who might have missed it can find it 🙂
    Reply to this comment

    Comment by Meg
    2009-03-24 08:02:15

    I’ve been there…a hundred times over, each night for a year, and even now, if I think about it really hard, I can picture his face next to mine, can hear his laughter, and can remember every single thing he ever said to me.

    And I hate him for it…for leaving me and going on with his life while I watch poorly remastered reruns of our relationship.

    I wish I could forget him…forget that time we spent together. I wish you luck in sewing up the hole he left in you. 🙂
    Reply to this comment
    Comment by Rebecca Adler
    2009-03-24 08:18:49

    Oh God, Meg, that’s exactly how I feel. I sincerely hope time will help you forget and heal. It’s strange that any of us are willing to go out and try again after we’ve experienced this. I guess we can’t help but hope that things will be better the next time around.
    Reply to this comment
    Comment by Meg
    2009-03-24 08:57:35

    It’s funny you say that! I’ve been thinking about that lately, wondering if I’ll ever be able to put myself out there again the way I did with him. Cheers to moving past it – eventually. 🙂
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    Comment by Aaron Dietz
    2009-04-06 11:14:46

    Those what-if’s can be killer–glad you made it past them.

    Excellent summary of the positives of starting anew and refreshing your perspective for new steps forward. Huzzah!
    Reply to this comment

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