Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Story of Joe

It's been over a year and a half since their relationship ended and still can't bring himself to move on. Despite the time that's passed, the idea of being with another woman still feels like cheating.

He wonders if it's worth it to even try. Maybe we only get one shot at true happiness, he thinks. If she was really his "other half" it would certainly explain the emptiness he feels inside since she left.

He only thinks of her a few times a day now but he senses that if he told anyone, they'd tell him that it's still far often and that he should forget her completely. He wishes he could, but he can't seem to find a way.

Mostly, he misses the way she made every moment feel special. When they were together, he imagined that everyone around them was just an extra in the story of their love but somewhere along the way the roles have reversed and he's become the extra in everyone else's life.

From time to time he goes out with his friends - mostly so he can claim to have some sort of life - but those nights have all begun to feel the same. Hearty greetings are followed by superficial conversations designed to hide the fact they have little in common. At the end of the night goodbyes and promises to keep in touch are exchanged and quickly forgotten until someone in the group becomes so desperate for company that they arrange another night out.

Every once in a while, he goes out on a date. He uses the dates to measure just how close he is to forgetting her. The answer is always "not very."

In between these sporadic signs of life, his days are as predictable as a metronome. He works 12 hours a day and then goes home and listens to music. He always plays the same songs in the hopes that if he listens to them often enough the words will lose their meaning. That's yet to happen and so every night becomes an orgy of self-flagellation. He believes that he has to do this in order to properly mourn the past so that he can one day build a future, but at this point the memories seem to have taken up permanent residence in his mind making it impossible for him to focus on anything else.

As he sits in the darkness of his dreary apartment, he dreams of making a clean break from his life - of quitting his job, giving away all of his possessions, and making a fresh start but he knows that he's become a creature of habit and fears that if he did so, he'd rebuild the same life in a different place.

What he fails to realize that the life he's always been the most afraid of is the life he's living right now.