I am going through a breakup and I can’t help but notice the symmetry this experience has with the process of getting together. Just over eleven years ago, I met my future-husband. It was my first semester of college. Instead of going to class, I mostly laid in bed, intensely thinking about him. I couldn’t stop thinking about him. He was everything I wanted in a boyfriend: intelligent, artistic, yet practical, and of course, handsome. Dark curly hair and freckles. He looked, and still does, like he should have been born and raised in Dublin. I practically stopped eating because my thoughts were so intensely focused on him.
And now, eleven years later, as we are breaking up, I find that I’m equally spending a lot of time laying about in bed, thinking about him. Only now, instead of imagining the future we would have together, I alternate between mourning the good memories of what’s already happened and obsessing over why it has all come to an end.
I’m very sad. I feel very alone and oddly ashamed.
I’m struggling to write, but I hadn’t expected to also struggle to read. I recently read an author confess a similar inability to read while she was grieving a death in the family. I’m told that breaking up is a kind of grief, so I suppose it makes sense that I can’t seem to read either. Every book I pick up looses attraction within ten pages or less. The stories seem dull. The words are impenetrable. My mind wanders back to my husband.
I tried Postcards from the Edge, figuring that would be light, but the stream of consciousness narrative drives me bonkers. Replace the word “drug” with “my husband” and I feel like I’m reading the dictation of my own thoughts.
I just bought a used copy of Hilary Mantel’s memoir, Giving up the Ghost. I tried it today, but the words don’t seem to make any sense. I can’t tell if it’s because of my malaise or if the style just really is a tad dense.
I look at my next Aubrey/Maturin book on the shelf and the thought of clearing that initial hurdle that is always necessary to get into those books seems too hard to even attempt.
The Letters of E.B. White are sweet, but there’s no story there. I’m not interested in the day-to-day minutia of finding newspaper jobs in New York.
Rebecca is too dark and frightening to even try more than a page.
Everything is too hard, too much, too boring, too this, too that.
I want my old life back. I want to be able to escape in a book so deeply that I look up and realize half the weekend has already gone by. I want my husband to walk through the door and smile when he sees me, instead looking hurt and slightly afraid – mirroring y own face, I’m sure.
I guess this too shall pass. In the meantime, I’ll keep opening and closing books until one finally sticks and I can float away for a little while.
Have you ever struggled to read before? I feel like my most favorite thing to do in the world is also being taken from me.
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