Tomorrow, this Halloween, it’ll be three years since she left. Every day of those three years, I have missed her, every day I have wished I had some form of time machine to make things right and every day I’ve hoped and prayed that wherever she is, she’s happy and loved.
Only recently have I realised that I’m in the wrong universe.
I’m in the universe where the Nazis won the war. I’m in the universe where the Romans realised the military potential of Hero’s Engine. I’m in the universe where the evil people don’t have moustaches because, hey, they’re not really evil. They’re just people.
Only I know I’m in the wrong universe.
Somewhere, in the right universe, we’re still together. We managed to talk, we managed to sort out what was going on before it got too big to clamber over. In that universe, the right universe, we’re happy. I sorted out my stupid head and we had babies. We’re parents, we have a little family. We take care of the babies: I teach them how to sing and clap and she teaches them how to dance and think. She’s got the job she wanted, probably in research, I’m a househusband musician.
When she comes home from work, we chunter and she plays with the babies. Then, after we’ve put them to bed (in a room full of the most twee, silly decorations, of course), we cuddle up on the sofa and watch geeky podcasts or some SF show I’ve recorded. I tickle her, we hug, she kisses me and I feel such love and wonder to have a woman like her in my life. Me being the nightowl, she goes to bed before me. I finish putting stupid shit on Facebook or updating this blog and then I go up to bed. She’s asleep, the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. I cuddle up next to her and tell her I love her. She pats my arm and mumbles, “I love you too.” I feel the full curve of her hip under my palm, the unbelievable softness of her skin and I reach round and pat her cute little belly. In the night, she nicks the duvet off my feet but I don’t mind.
If that sounds like fantasy, it isn’t. Apart from the babies. I had that love. And more. There is so much that we had that I cannot put into words. Sometimes, when I was frustrated about a new song or worried about money or something, she’d just look at me, and kiss me, say a few words and it would be like a magic spell. She was so, so intelligent, we just used to talk about things for hours. Could be plate tectonics, could be astrobiology. Every sentence she uttered made me love her more. Who wouldn’t love that perfect, golden mind? And she loved me more completely and more atomically than any other human ever has. This love wasn’t one way: she knew I loved her equally back. I showed her with every word, touch and sometimes song.
Only I didn’t, did I? I was snappy and withdrawn and selfish and made her cry with thoughtless words. When she reached out to me, to try and help me with my depression, I recoiled instead of being brave enough to let her in. And when she suggested we get outside help, my fear of other people prying into our private life stopped me. Which is the ultimate irony since you’re reading this now. If I had been a better person, a better man, if I had actually fucking communicated with her when we went through shit three years ago, I wouldn’t be marooned in this fucking universe now. A universe where every day is yet more loneliness piled higher and higher on top of me.
I live in the same house, I walk through the same rooms and sometimes, when my mental blocks fail, I remember when this house used to be full of love and laughter. I so miss the sound of her singing in the kitchen. Sometimes, when I was upstairs, she’d play the piano in the dining room. She’d make up these melodies, these beautiful little songs that would enchant me. And I’m not saying that as a besotted husband, I’m saying that as a professional musician. I always said I’d record them but, of course, I never did. I put it off. There’ll be time enough, I thought. Like a fucking idiot.
Now the house is dead, the bones of a whale in which I shelter. Sometimes I wake up and don’t say another word to a human being till I go to town in the afternoon or see my parents in the evening. I try to fill the monochrome silence with music and, yeah, it does help, occasionally. But I miss how she used to just chitter on, she filled this place up with her sweetness and her geeky science facts. If you live with someone for fourteen years, living alone again feels like solitary confinement.
In this universe, this crushed, wizened, frozen waste of a universe, everything is a mute grey. You cannot realise how much colour someone puts into your life until they decide to gather it all in and take it somewhere else.
I have friends, good ones. And I’m lucky enough to have family. But in the three years since I fell into this horrible, wrong universe, no-one has touched, kissed or loved me like she did. As the third unhappy anniversary approaches, I know it was folly of me to hope that anyone else ever would or could. I’ll spend tomorrow alone because that’s how I’ll spend the rest of my life, why pretend otherwise? I have tried so hard to be positive, to exercise and go out and seek out new friends and be open and do music and write songs and go places and have adventures and try new things and stretch myself and be friendly and think of the future and be realistic and block out the memories of being truly loved and now I am worn out. I feel threadbare, like some kind of ghastly parody of a personality rather than a whole human being. I feel like people can see through my smile to the horror that’s in my brain, the endless scream of knowing that this is wrong.
This isn’t how it was meant to be. I’m in the wrong universe.