I have always been told that people look back on previous relationships wearing rose-colored glasses, that when two became one you only remembered the good times, not the bad. That's not true, though. Looking back on my previous relationship, there were no fireworks, no sparks, no butterflies, just unhappiness. It's hard to look back on the good times when you can't remember any.
Everything about those years seems a dark, distant nightmare now. It's hard to fantasize about the good qualities in a relationship when there weren't any worthy qualities in him.
Even now, I struggle to say his name, struggle to hear the syllables fall from my traitorous tongue. Each fleeting memory causes my breath to quicken and I feel sure that those around me can sense my anxiety and fear. The mere thought of his face, his voice, his anything causes my heart to beat an irregular rhythm, a sort of warning, a war drum that I feel as an inconsistent ache rattling amid my ribs.
It's been almost two years and I can still feel his presence, feel his whispers in the air around me. I know that if I am ever brave enough to look in the rear-view mirror, he'll be there - a menacing reminder of everything that shames me.
My mother confessed to me recently, years since I've heard from or seen him, that she sometimes wonders if I am really over him. My writing makes her worry at times. My first reaction was to attest to my complete recovery from that dreaded illness, but that did not make it easy to forget. People muse that it has to do with the whole "first love" myth, my bitter reactions and sense of loss are equated to teenage angst.
I am over him, regarding the fact that I have not spoken to him in years and do not intend to ever again. I do not love him, do not miss him, and don't want him back in my life in any capacity. There is no deep-seated longing and yearning that burns within my gut. I am wholly independent and happy without him.
However, I can still feel his fingerprints ingrained into my skin and smell him in my bed. There are times I see echos of him in faces on the street and have to restrain my weary feet, because I refuse to run or hide anymore. Even knowing he is nowhere near, I can feel his eyes boring into my back, attempting to read my thoughts.
So, no, I don't think I'm still in love with him. I think "haunted" is the more appropriate word. He's the nightmare image darting along my periphery. He is just out of sight, but always there.