All The Things We Lost
Senseless (adjective) - deprived of sensation; lacking mental perception, meaningless.
She's in the kitchen when she gets the call. Right in the middle of chopping vegetables when the voice on the other end tells her that he's dead.
Thank you for calling, she says, her mind shutting down completely, leaving her body going through the motions. She hangs up the phone and returns to the task at hand, guiding the knife through carrots, then celery, and straight on to her finger. She looks down at the torn flesh, the growing pool of red. Dinner is ruined.
The food and cutting board go in the trash with a thud, and she cleans and bandages her wound with gauze. There's an alarming amount of blood, but she doesn't feel any pain.
She doesn't feel anything.
Her feet are heavy as she shuffles over to the couch, and she runs her bandaged hand along the fabric. He was the one who had picked it out.
It was their third date, one that she remembers in perfect detail. They were supposed to meet at the movie theater, but she had lost track of time at a furniture store and called him, frantic and apologetic. He laughed - oh, how she misses that laugh - and said it was no big deal, then asked which store she was in and offered to meet her there. Half an hour later, he surprised her in the showroom, draped his arm around her shoulder, and said, now, let's find you a couch.
That was the day she fell in love with him.
The couch is faded now, the fabric almost worn through in some places, but she never could bear to replace it. It's the only thing she has left that still smells like him, and when she sits down, it's almost like he's there with her.
If she closes her eyes, she can pretend that he is.
Holding on to the last shred of him, she lays her head down on the pillow and feels moisture on her cheek. When she touches her face, her fingers come back tear-stained. She doesn't even realize she's been crying, but now that the tears have started, she can't make them stop, so she curls up on the couch, pretending she's in his arms, and cries for all that she has lost.
For the man she loved.
For the part of herself that died with him.
For the future they could have had together.
The two of them, doctor and nurse, husband and wife, in a charming apartment with a dog or two - this was the future they should have had together, and she doesn't understand how it all went so wrong.
It doesn't make sense.
Nothing makes sense anymore.
Instead of their wedding, she attends his funeral and when she should have tossed her bouquet, she throws dirt onto his grave. It's her second time losing him, but this time, there's no chance that he'll come back to her - there's nothing to come back from.
That night, she comes home to her apartment and collapses onto the couch. She inhales, expecting to feel the last remnants of him, but there's nothing. Panicked, she presses her face against the fabric and sinks into the cushions, but it's no use - she can no longer feel him. There's no sense of him left in her life, and if it weren't for the letters and old photographs she kept, she never would have known that he was there at all.
That's what he has been reduced to - a box of paper in the back of her closet.
That's the day she understands he's really gone.
She's numb for a long time after that, unable to feel him, unable to feel anything. Not knowing what else to do, she throws herself into med school, and a few years after that, she becomes a nurse and buys a cozy apartment in a nice neighborhood. She doesn't have a dog but she does volunteer at an animal shelter, so in the end, she gets everything she wanted after all.
Everything except him.
In the end, she doesn't have anything at all.