There is nothing worse than waking up knowing she’s gone. Gone for good. You light up that cigarette and take a drag. Cigarettes after sex were awesome. Now, cigarettes and memories of her is a bad combination. It sucks the life out of you. Literally and figuratively.
It’s been months since she left but you just can’t get her out of your head. You started smoking cigarettes a lot more than you used to. But minus the fun. You stopped ironing your clothes. You stopped shaving. She used to love your beard. Now you just don’t care anymore. She must be playing with someone else’s beard right now. Fuck.
You wake up one day and you see how messed up your life is. Bills littered on the floor, dishes went unwashed at the sink, you have lots of missed calls on your answering machine and you’ve been wearing the same boxers for a full week. You stand up and look at yourself in the mirror. You can see the effects of chain smoking cigarettes from the dry skin you once called your face. The circles around your eyes tell the misery you went through for months. You can’t believe this is the same eyes that caught her attention that one Thursday afternoon in Starbucks seven years ago. Times changed.
After taking a hot bath and deciding which shirt to wear, it reminds you how half of your wardrobe was from her. That loud hot pink long sleeves you despised was her favorite. Damn, you wonder how you pulled off wearing it in public. Man, you had balls. Where are your balls now?
What happened to you?
You got to work five minutes early. You scribble down stuff on your memo pad you can’t even comprehend. You survived that last inhumane meeting. Boy, they sure loved to talk and worry about inconsequential stuff. And you reach the three o’clock break. You see her. You tried not to stare but you did. She was walking to the copier where you once shared a steamy second base. You felt a hard pang in your chest. You cannot do it now. You were about to approach her but she reached for her phone and worn her bluetooth headphone. She just got a call. She was smiling. The same smile you used to see whenever you wake her up from her slumber. The kind of smile you enjoyed. THAT smile.
It tore you.
It happened for another week. Same thing. She goes to the copier and talks to her new boyfriend. You let out a sigh and you run toward the Emergency Exit and smoke a cigarette. What the fuck, dude, you ask yourself. It’s 5 PM and while others are eager to go home or see a movie with their dates, you drag yourself to stand from your swivel chair. You hated your job but you just don’t want to go home. You head toward your car and saw the night sky. You ask yourself if anybody will notice if you jump off that ledge. It’s a good seven-floor drop. You cry yourself silly. It started with a whimper but the floodgates opened and you were five years old again. The pain is too much. It eats you whole.
Next day you do your routine. You see her at the copied by 3 PM, you go to your car and cry before driving home. Suddenly you see a flyer for a gym membership on the third floor of your building. You told yourself you’ll stop by and you did. You tried out the sauna as you were too devastated to even lift a shitty dumbbell. A few more evenings and you started lifting.
You remember how she always urged you to go to the gym with her. You always gave an excuse.
You started lifting more. Faster.
You remember the times when you shared your first kiss with her. You lifted more.
Nights became weeks. You started noticing people at the gym. Some look way worse than you. There are women awkwardly running on the treadmill. There was this girl who obviously didn’t know what the hell she was doing. You kept your dignity in check. Bravo.
Weeks turned months. You started noticing you have been taking fewer cigarettes lately. You stopped running to the staircase to smoke whenever you see her. You started spending long hours at the gym. People started noticing you. You get the nods from other sweaty people you once laughed at. You continue running. Lifting.
The girls started checking you out. You are now their spotter. You found out the girls are now digging you. You renewed your gym membership. You receive more nods than before. You lifted more weights and ran longer. You found out the awkward girl on the treadmill was Melissa. You noticed she stays late too. As you were about to go home, you held the elevator for her and chatted on the way to the parking area. She tells you how comfortable she became when you started being open to people, spotting them, helping them out with their diet and program. You started spending more time with her than with the other ladies. The two of you now leave the gym early but spend more time at the parking lot eating that awful gym cafeteria sandwich while you both laugh about it. Then you remember why you went to the gym in the first place. You found out you share the same experience. She tells you how she thought she won’t be able to get over the pain.
And that she misses her cigarettes after sex.