The sea looked the same as I had left it and so did I; but we had both changed. A major change, almost unnoticeable, with the real difference laying beneath the surface.

I didn’t want to see what had become of him since we had last met. How his eyes were like a man I hadn’t met, how his hand clasped around a woman that was not me.

Of all my regrets he was not one, and yet I felt drawn to live my life in a way that appeared better off without him. I looked happy, and in part, faking it had made it so, after many months of unstoppable fear of confrontation I was in a different place. The baker knew I was married, so did my hairdresser, my gardener, my neighbours, the guy at the post office and the staff at work. For months I had to verbalise my pain in one, clean-cut word, it was called divorce. Sometimes that was too hard to cough out of my throat, and so I might have settled with gone or separated.

For a while, I felt like I had failed the test of life, that I had chosen the wrong answer, that I no longer fit in with the ones who had chosen correctly. I didn’t drink or smoke excessively, I didn’t find a man to take up the vacancy, the space where I knew someone else was meant to be.

It was like I was sitting on a train that was running without stopping, and I couldn’t slow down, even when my heart was sitting in my hand and I was an empty shell – it all kept going, blurring past me. In the figurative train, I looked to the seat beside me, where he used to be, caring about my journey and I his, going through life together.

But now that seat is vacant, and to this day I don’t know if it’ll be fit for someone else. But if not today, maybe tomorrow I will be ready, maybe tomorrow someone else will be too, but until then life goes on.

~Written by Stephanie Kentepozidis

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