I Don’t Have a Name For This Emotion

What am I supposed to do with it if I don’t know what it is?

I sat on my patio in the desert heat last night after he left. I didn’t cry. My heart didn’t pound with anger. I just sat there with the truth. He’s gone.

Moments before, we were sitting on the couch. My legs draped over his like they always are. Like they did when he first started coming over months ago when we’d sit outside by the fire.

There was no discussion. Just an informed decision he made on his part. I didn’t argue. There were no raised voices. I didn’t put up a fight. I just let him go.

I’ve spent my whole life fighting for love. On the shortlist of things I have told myself I would never do again is try to convince a man to stay. If he wants or needs to go, I will let him.

Im not angry. He called it off to spare me pain. He was kind and compassionate about it. He did it face to face. He was gentle. He has work to do. Neither one of us did anything wrong.

I’m not depressed. I got out of bed just fine. I woke up this morning in tears, but it didn’t seem like a choice I made. They were just there, the moment I opened my eyes. Like they were waiting for me.

I’m not confused. I understand exactly why this happened. It makes sense no matter how much I dislike it.

I’m not afraid. I’ll be fine. I know this. I’m strong. Don’t fear being alone. I’ve gotten really good at it. I just don’t prefer it.

This emotion is a lacking. Where there was once joy there is just…nothing. There’s an empty spot that was him. I feel everything and nothing.

It’s like sitting in an unfamiliar room. One I have no desire to move around in. I just want out. It’s not comfortable here. I want to be back on my own couch. But when I sit there, I want my legs draped over someone else’s.

Whatever this is, it’s mine to sit with. I can’t assign that job to someone else. The problem is that I don’t know what to do with it.

I’m usually exceptionally good at naming my feelings, a skill learned in years of therapy. I was taught that we get to have our feelings, experience them, but we don’t get to keep them. They are temporary visitors.

Whenever I feel something I don’t want to keep, I tell myself over and over that it’s not mine. Over and over until it’s gone. But this? It’s too vague.

Part of me wants to plow forward. Make a plan. Outline everything that I’m going to do now. How I’m going to fill the space, the time, the energy that was once his. Write. Play my violin. Get an astronaut in Congress. Put the backsplash on the wall in the kitchen. That’s just busyness.

Part of me wants to open the door wide and invite anger in. Get your ass in here already. I want to curse out hope for perching on my shoulder. Mother fucking hope.

That doesn’t seem productive, either.

So, I’m just going to go make another cup of coffee. And then another. I’ll go wash my face. Get my work ready to start. Clean the bathroom. Clean up the dishes I left sitting there after I made him dinner last night. Water the plants. Just like I did yesterday. Except today, it’s without him.

Flaming pinball, nerd, music lover, wine snob, horrible violin player. No, I won’t stop taking pictures of my drinks. vanessaltorre@gmail.com IG: vanessaltorre

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