It isn't a secret that quarantine has everyone cleaning the house three times a week, rewatching old tv shows on Netflix, binge eating, and being over our phones checking Instagram every two seconds to see if there is something new.
Isolation has given me too much free time to think and do. I've been thinking about my college classes, how different it is to do laboratories online, how much I miss going to class and be with my friends, and how weird it feels the lack of routine. Now not only I don't move from my computer for 6 hours, attending online classes and doing online assignments, but now I cannot practice volleyball. The only thing that kept me sane and made my day go faster.
One of the toughest challenges of this quarantine is going through a breakup. They are already too much to handle in what we used to know as normality, now it gets twice as hard. We broke up just before our university sent us home. I'm not quite sure what motivated us to end it. Sometimes I wonder if it was the lack of interest from him into the relationship, his constant excuse of not having time, or the idea that going through quarantine in this gray area we were in, just seemed impossible. We didn't talk to each other after that day. For the next few weeks, I couldn't get the last conversation out of my head. I wanted to end things in the best way possible, I didn't expect to end as friends but at least that we didn't have resentment for each other. I wished it ended like that, but the last words we said were full of anger and pain, that I cannot get them out of my head. For two weeks I felt numb, with all this uncertainty going on about the pandemic, being away from my family and trying to adapt to online classes, the thought of not being able to call him was driving me insane. I tried to make sense out of it, but it seemed I couldn't get out of my head. I couldn't understand how was I still willing to put myself through all the pain I felt, just for one more call.
Every night I thought of it, of what I would have done differently, and to this day I have thousands of scenarios that all end up hurting me all over again. In normality, one of our fears going through a breakup one is to meet your ex on campus, while waiting for a coffee, at the gym, or at a party. Places we could avoid or run from. This quarantine took that fear away, instead, we are trapped inside our heads, where there is no place to hide, avoid, or run away from. After so many facetime calls with my best friends, reading my favorite poetry book of Pierre Alex Jeanty, crying watching the movie Someone Great for the millionth time, singing Truth Hurts of Lizzo and feeling like a badass, and then 10 minutes later, switching to Great One of Jessie Reyes, cuddling with my pillow just about to fall asleep. I could feel that day by day, I began to heal.
As April arrived, I started feeling lighter. Slowly I was letting the weight of the memories and feelings leave my head and soul. The bracelet I used to wear every day with the charms he gave me for valentine's day, was laying on my side desk. I couldn't remember when was the last time I wore it, but for the first time, I did not feel naked without it. Every day I found something to do. I was busy working out, studying for my classes, reading my favorite novels, or binge-watching my favorite tv shows, unconsciously I moved on. I decided to mute him on Instagram and Snapchat, I deleted his number for good. I told myself I was done, that I didn't want to feel that kind of pain again. Feeling I was not enough when all I did was putting him first, made me lose myself. But every story has a climax. Every woman knows that men have an alarm to sense when we are doing great without them that they need to reappear after a long time... and this wasn't the exception.
After one month without a trace of him, he called. Let me tell you something, it doesn't matter how many times you have practiced in front of the mirror how you are going to react when you see him again, you are never prepared for when it happens. I was shocked. Even when I didn't have his number saved, I recognized the number as if I had intentionally memorized it. I let it rang, and all kinds of questions went through my mind like bullets, bringing back the memories that I tried so hard to bury. At the last moment I picked up, and there he was, just as I remembered him. He was holding his favorite Juul, looking directly at me. He was the first one to talk, "Hi Val." I couldn't breathe, I had forgotten how my name used to sound in his voice. "Heeey" was the only thing that came out of my mouth. I think he could see how surprised I was about his call that I couldn't think clearly. He looked so chill as if he didn't think of anything during the last month.
"How you been", he said.
"Good, full of work to do, what about you?", I tried to sound as chill as he was.
"Good, I'm still in Florida." And there it was, the awkward silence. "I was thinking about you, but I wanted to give you your space", he added.
All I could think of was the millionth scenarios that went through my head during the last month. How I was going to tell him it was too late for apologies, that he lost me for good and that there was no point in going back together. But nothing came out of my mouth. We talked about the last conversation we had, and how everything had changed since then. I hold my pride as high as I could, and even when my heart yelled to tell him how much I've missed him, this time my brain talked, "it's too late to come back, I've moved on and nothing is left to change." As soon as the words left my mouth, his whole face changed, he couldn't look at me again, his tone of voice changed from chill to harsh, as if I let him down once again. I could see clearly that he did miss me, but he didn't think there were things to change from both of us. I could improve on myself and be better every day, but if he was not willing to do the same, the story was going to repeat itself. "There is nothing else to say then, bye Val", and he hung up. I don't have words to explain what I felt. I thought that after making myself clear about what I wanted, I was going to feel powerful and strong, but I only felt confused. That night felt like the first two weeks after the breakup. It was like the wounds were open again. I took a long bubble bath and replayed my favorite song for as long as I remember. This was it, the end of the breakup. I was done for good and there was no coming back. I had faced my ghosts and I had scared them away.