To the lover I left in an airport

Painting by Wang Niandong

Painting by Wang Niandong

Even when we are miles apart from the ones we love, the effects of the relationships play out in our lives. Let Maddi take you through how things look when the world is colored by lost love:

Today I learnt that after a bushfire, the forest grows back stronger.
I don’t know the exact science behind this, but it’s something about substance from absence.
How all walls must be knocked down before new shelter is built,
how aftermath often wears a costume of opportunity.

I’ve been trying to stop smoking. When my hands kept asking where you were, I gave them something warm to reach for. Now I’ve replaced tobacco with mugs of tea, still aware that I will die eventually but at least with lungs that forgive me.

I am eating three meals a day. At first your absence filled my gut with a buffet of memories. But nostalgia is not a meal. Even when this body feels hollow, it needs more than a metaphoric dinner plate.

I have been setting my alarm for 10:30 am. When I open my curtains, I remember that the world is not a mirror. That rubbish collectors and school children do not stop, even when I do. Not every skyline knows the shade of you.

I am going on dates. On Friday nights I dance with familiar strangers, even when the music is only a clinked glass or a slammed door. That late night anthem of accidental elegance. Holding someone else’s hand still feels like crumpling a napkin. Our fingers always folded precisely, like fragile origami.

I am trying to imagine. Write stories that don’t make sense. Strum ukuleles and sing music that nobody will hear. I am learning the substance of solitude, and finding comfort in crowds who are not my family.

I am trying to create a meaning behind missing you. A purpose to this aftermath.
Today I learnt that after a bushfire, the forest grows back stronger.
This makes sense to me, because since I left you
I have felt less like a forest and more like an ashtray.

I am waiting to see how I grow.

Story by Maddie Godfrey.