This is how you know you that have lost her:
Your fingers don’t fit perfectly into the spaces between hers anymore, your breathing no longer syncs with hers when the lights go out by 11:32 pm, she no longer pulls back her shoulder with enthusiasm when you try to hold her in the dark, and she flinches micro-aggressively when you attempt to tickle her heels with your toes. The mattress feels too large even when she’s there, and your arms just don’t feel like home to her anymore.
This is how you know that she is gone:
The food just doesn’t taste the same anymore, it’s either a few sprinkles too spicy, or a spoonful’s worth of salt too little. She no longer bothers to say “baby, please get my favourite fork”, opting instead to dish the meal in separate plates. Her cheeks no longer turn purple when you whisper “I’ll miss you” in her ears, the strands of her hair no longer tilt sideways when you kiss her forehead, and when she brushes her lips against yours a few seconds shorter as has been the case lately, you can’t ignore the icy feel.
This is how you know that she is no longer here:
She now recounts her experiences with the one who loved her before you way too often, she is evasive whenever you suggest spending the end-of-year holidays together, she is comfortable with seeing newly acquired movies on her laptop without you, and your toothbrushes don’t even face each other in the bathroom anymore. Those video calls to “her new Twitter friend” have stretched from six minutes to forty, you see how her face brightens up while she texts strangers, you can’t remember when last her eyes joined her lips in smiling at you, and you are the last person to know that she uploaded four new photos on Instagram because she no longer cares to first share them with you. She thinks you have fallen asleep when she sends out voice notes of herself singing the Coldplay songs you once crooned together to.
This is how you know that you’re slowly becoming a memory:
You are lucky if you get to make love more than once in the space of two weeks, she doesn’t even arch her back the same anymore, she doesn’t bother to straddle you now, and when you climax she is no longer inclined to have you cuddle her. You can’t remember the last time you both took an evening stroll, you can’t recall the last time you tried to beat the queue at the cinema to get tickets for both of you, she “forgets” to hug you before heading out to work in the morning, and that Thursday evening when she returned from that “business date” she updated her Facebook status in the lines of “today was the best day I have had in a long time, there are still men out there who know how to work a woman’s mind and body”.
This is how you know she’ll never come back:
You no longer see her WhatsApp status updates, she steps out really early and returns few minutes to midnight, she is quick to leave the shower before you join in, and her most recent retweets involve women discussing “new beginnings” and “making upgrades”. She liked an Instagram post advertising a new apartment on the other end of town, her choice of literature has changed too, she no longer gets mad when you both argue, and when you spend nights at your friend’s mini-flat she does not ask why you couldn’t make it home.
The hardest part about watching love slip away is that there’s nothing you can do about it. No movies will prepare you for the way you will break; no pre-breakup playlist will cushion you when you fall to pieces. It reminds you of your mother, and how you looked helplessly as Cancer slowly ate her up. This is no Marvel movie, you are no Dr Strange and there is no time loop to manipulate, so you fall to your knees as she rolls her box through the door, leaving your house to be engulfed by an emptiness that transcends the absence of fabric or furniture.
Heartbreak, like rain, does not usually concern itself with prior notice.