The Stranger That Isn’t You

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Photo courtesy of Unsplash

It’s dawn and the light casts a shadow across the person laying beside me.
I wake up thinking it’s you and then I remember,
As I smell the scent that’s not your aftershave,
Your toothpaste,
Your shampoo,
That there is someone else sharing my bed.
I smell their musk, their lemon-scented skin
And I remember that it isn’t you.

Their hands are clumsy
And don’t fit nicely inside of mine.
Their skin isn’t the one I want to reach for to cover me from the chill.
The slight intake of their breath isn’t synced with mine;
It isn’t the record I’m used to listening to before I fall asleep.

And here I am,
Alone with the stranger that isn’t you.
Alone with the stranger that I called your name over and over.
The stranger I hoped would help me get rid of the taste of your mouth.
Your skin.
Your touch.
Your everything.

Here I am alone with a stranger I didn’t want to be you,
But cried because he wasn’t.
They say it takes twice as long as the relationship to finally get over someone,
Then I will wait years, months, weeks to get rid of this hole.
I’ll have to wait years to feel whole.
Healed.
Human.

And I’ll hold my breath whenever someone has your name.
Your laugh.
Your scent.
I’ll still turn off the radio whenever I hear that song
And fall into the arms of strangers,
Hoping to find someone that has brown eyes, not green.
Someone who doesn’t care that I wear my heart on my sleeve.
Someone that will be okay with openly loving me.

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