I have carried you in my heart so long that it hurts. In the instant that I loved you, I knew I would lose you. I have never regretted anything more in my life than that one instant. My young heart didn’t know the weight it bore.
I remember the realisation one day, a calm early morning, the dew not yet settled. I knew nothing I could do would change the way I felt. I tried to run from my inevitable fate. I dallied in the arms of others, but my heart could not be deceived. It grew heavy. Cold. The more I tried to forget you, the more I forgot how to love anyone else.
I wanted to destroy myself. To be annihilated. I drank, I fought, I fucked. Then, one day, I saw someone who looked just like you, and for a moment my heart dropped out of me. As they walked by, I wanted to stop them. I would have cried. I kept walking. I needed to know where you were. I wanted to hear you tell me that true love is nonsense and that soul mates are bullshit. I want you to make me love again.
But I was too late.
I knew I would lose you, but not like this. I shouldn’t have run. I should have stayed, married you, had kids, then grown miserable and old after a messy divorce. I should have dated you and then killed myself when I found out about your infidelity. I should have lost you some other way – any other way.
The last time I saw you, the last time we spoke, was Christmas six years ago. We argued. I was upset about your new partner, not that I could say it. You were probably upset at mine. We didn’t argue about that, though. We argued about meaningless bullshit, the value of social media, the political situation. I lost my temper, got frustrated, and stormed out. We hadn’t spoken since.
On my way to see you one last time, I worried that your partner or family would be there. They didn’t really know about me, and I didn’t blame you for not telling them. How would you have introduced the robot you said you were in love with? I will walk to your grave a stranger, unable to share my grief with the others who loved you.
The plot they chose for your gravestone was tasteful. You would have hated it, though. You would have wanted your ashes scattered among the stars, joined with infinity. You would have been angry to know they buried you with the blessing of their god. You would have thought the plaque was pointless. The epithet read: “Father, Friend, Husband”. It’s like they didn’t know you. I had come to understand that the woman bearing your meat-child did not tell you of her pregnancy before you were in the coma. You would not have approved. They married you both while you were in a vegetative state. Perhaps you wouldn’t have cared. You were already dead by then. You probably loved her.
In front of the grave, there is a dead flower in a pot that has been neatly smashed in to four pieces. The roots of the dead flower are holding the dirt together. I reflect for a while, and slowly place a folded piece of paper at your headstone, in between the two flower holders at the back. I was smart. The paper will biodegrade at the first sign of inclement weather. Contained on the paper is a little secret you never knew. Whenever I built something for you, or made something for you, I hid a cypher. It was always a different code, something tricky that I knew you’d be intrigued enough to crack. Different codes, but always the same message: “I love you”. One day, when your meat-child breaks the novelty robot toy I made you, the repair man will find a slip with a code on. You never knew. I couldn’t tell you, I just hoped you’d find my message. I was an idiot.
Suddenly, the finality of your death hits me. For a while, I power down. I can’t grieve for you here.
For weeks after, I really don’t know what to do with myself. I tried vices, but in the glow of intoxicants I only felt my regrets and the sweet memory of your voice. I wanted to kill myself, but it is now a crime to waste metal. I did the only thing I could and scheduled myself for a formatting. It wouldn’t erase every trace of you, but I could forget. I am heartbroken. Some other me will dream of your face, your all-too-human eyes. They will think for a second that they feel love, but they won’t know, and they won’t remember.