Each month, we invite Community Culture writers to respond to a themed prompt in a creative writing notebook. This month, February, is the month of love! But searching for valentines is SO last year… this month’s theme is breakups, bad dates and broken hearts. — Zoe Phillips, Senior Arts Editor
Realize. Something has shifted. Tectonic plates in your heart grind against each other ever so slowly until, one day, you notice a crack where there wasn’t one before. The landscape has shifted.
Ignore the fuck out of it. The shift is almost imperceptible, so if you don’t focus too hard on it, perhaps it’s not there. It was probably just some stray hair caught in your glasses. God knows you never clean them enough. You stay quiet, you keep your eyes wide and unfocused.
Realize again. Before it was a shift in tectonic plates, it was massive ancient rock sitting far below the crust of the earth. Now, it’s closer to the surface. Now, it’s a rumbling that’s rattling your teacups in their saucers, toppling over your cup of pencils and the papers on your desk, waking you from a sleep you weren’t even unconscious for anyway. You have to get up.
Seek council. There is a moment of suspense before you hit the call button below your roommate’s contact info. Your finger lingers over the blue-green glow of your cell phone screen as you realize that words have far more power than they should. Once you confide in someone, you bring the problem into an unignorable existence. Abstract fears are now spun into audible words, braided with tears and “I don’t know’s.” You now have a witness. The landscape has changed.
Become incredibly productive. Fling yourself towards distractions because the road ahead of you is thick with fog and it’s safer to stay with what you know.
Realize again. Fog doesn’t clear without the scalding heat of the sun to cut through it. Neither will this. You have to do it.
Plan it. Now this part makes you feel the dirtiest. You decide on a walk because that’s what they do in movies and you don’t want to ruin anywhere for him. You do it at night so there’s even less of a chance he’ll attach this memory to a specific spot.
Oh God, there’s gonna be a memory.
Answer the door when he rings.
Chuckle half heartedly as he tells you a funny story from his day.
It’s hard. Your words have blown away and faded back into abstract concepts and you’re just starting to formulate them again until you look up and—oh my god his eyes, he knows he knows, he’s known this whole walk (how long has he known and hurt for this, you don’t want to know) and his eyes are the last silent plea before you move into the world of words. He asks you to please, please stop what he knows is coming.
You know his eyes are blue, but you’re already forgetting if they’re more blue or blue-green.
The landscape has shifted.