Habitual Ritual

You get used to it. That’s the thing about the human mind. You can get used to almost anything. You can go through the most horrible affliction, and your mind can find a way for you to live with it.

It’s hard at first. Because her image keeps popping into your head. You don’t really fight it, but you don’t really like it either. So you try to give your mind something to do. Anything. Work, read a book, watch a movie, drink. You’ve got to be careful, though. You have to pick movies that would not engage you intellectually very much, and avoid movies that you know she would have liked. Movies with lots of explosions, action, fights, shootings, and every other mindless form of cinematic entertainment. You have to keep your focus on that movie. Not to let your mind wonder off. But that doesn’t always works. And you get bored by all of it. And her image appears again. And you try drinking, but you remember her scolding you for it.

The only thing that seems to get your mind off her is work. But you’re getting old. Heck, you are old. And most of the times you just can’t keep up with the others. You get tired. And you’re thinking about retirement, but then you remember that there’s nobody to spend your retirement with.

Sometimes you talk to yourself, thinking or pretending you are talking to her. Sometimes that surprises you. Gradually, it becomes a ritual that you find yourself doing almost every day. Talking to her as if she’s still around. A habit. You start by telling her about what you’ve been doing at work, who annoyed you, and about that new guy who reminds you of your nephew. She would’ve liked him. You then continue with the movies you’ve seen, the books you’ve read… And you lose yourself in conversation, just like you used to, when she was around. You’ve always loved talking to her.

Sometimes other people catch you doing that. They get worried. They keep telling you to move on, that it’s okay to forget, that it’s unhealthy to keep living in the past, to live off memories… And you smile, you agree with them, “Yes, you’re right, I have to move on…” just so that they leave you alone. So that they shut the hell up with the niceness and the goddamned optimism, “Tomorrow’s another day,” “One day at a time,” “It will all get better in time,” “Time heals all wounds,” and all that crap. But how could you? How could you forget her? How could you move on?…

But you get used to it. To the loneliness. And that’s the worst thing. You don’t want to get used to it. You don’t want to lose your pain. You don’t want to get used to not having her around anymore. But you get used to that feeling of negation, too. I guess you can make a routine out of any tragedy.