“I Went Back, But You Weren’t There” Fiction. Based on a True Remembrance.

“I found myself in this circle . . . this constant battle that I was just fighting and crying and saying and repeating the same things over and over again.”

by Kandee Lewis

“I Went Back, But You Weren’t There”

Fiction. Based on a True Remembrance.

by Jin

This journal entry is inspired by true events. Some of the characters, names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes. Any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional.

Trigger Warning: our program often motivates people to discuss their trauma. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, please, take a step back to address emotional flashbacks and trauma before continuing to push yourself. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or the National Suicide Hotline at (1-800) 273-8255.

I went back, but you weren’t there. I walked the same streets; I visited the same places. I went rollerblading, as I used to do. I walked up and down Decatur, up and down Carrollton, Claiborne, Audubon. I saw the people I used to know. I ate at restaurants that we used to choose from in the evenings. But I didn’t see you.

For the first few days, this was difficult. On every corner, every block we passed in the car, I was looking for your face. Every car that looked like yours—I thought it was you. My thoughts were with you constantly; did you feel them?

I’m sure not. Were you thinking of me in the beginning of January? Thinking, maybe she’s here; maybe I will see her? Were you approaching each street corner with fear while I approached with anticipation?

Sometimes during my daily commute, I think of you. When I was driving yesterday, I was wondering if you’d ever reach out to me again. Wondering if I had placed myself in a box, trapped myself by the last message I sent you. “I won’t contact you again,” I said. Wondering if I had broken this agreement by asking my friend to tell you I was in town. Probably.

Are you proud of me for not showing up at your house unannounced? In the end, I was not really given the chance. I didn’t have a car, and I was too busy anyway. After the first few days, I was distracted, too. The whole experience was less stressful than I had imagined it would be. It was like I had stepped out of a dream.

Stepped out of the dream that is my life now… and into the life that I had almost six months ago. It feels like no time at all. I still imagine what it felt like to wake up next to you every morning on the navy blue sheets. To reach over and cup your sleeping form. Two nights ago I dreamed of kissing you. A week ago I dreamed of what it was like to hold you… the shape of your body and how it felt against mine. Your thin shoulders and delicate frame.

I loved you, and I love you still.

Maybe our paths will never cross again, but I hope they will. I hope they will cross serendipitously. It won’t be the same as the last time we reconnected after being apart, with me tentatively entering the practice room, unwilling, knowing that I was obligated to because of our past relationship.

Maybe this time that’s how you will feel. You’ll see me, playing piano or working at a library. Or maybe grocery shopping in some store in Vermont, some place neither of us have ever been, or maybe some place in a different country, and you’ll realize, I have to say hello to her. But you’ll be afraid and slightly unwilling.

And then, once you talk to me, you’ll remember what it felt like to be in my presence, and I in yours. We’ll both feel a flood of emotion as the memories come trickling back, and it will be like coming home to a life that we used to know.

I hope that day comes. I hope I won’t go the rest of my life without hearing from you.

It’s you I’ve loved you more than anyone.

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