Listen to Stephen Andrew narrate this poem, via Soundcloud.

Times and places, both foggy and half-forgotten

It was over.
I didn’t know it.
Not consciously.
Sometimes you just don’t know these things fully.
Until later.

The air had become thin and chilly.
There was acid on our tongues.
When we looked toward each other, we focused on the midspace.
And if our eyes met, it was in disdain or disappointment.
But we didn’t want to know.
The truth.
It was over.

In our denial, my body spoke to me.
I’d pull the car up to the house and feel my chest concave and shrink a little.
Shortness of breath.
(Shortness of life).
At night I’d climb into
Our bed
And instinctively turn
Away.
Eyes, like startled roller blinds
Flapped, wide open to the darkness.
Staring at nothing
But sleep’s petulant absence.
Most nights were like this
Toward the end.

I had to rest and so with earphones and iPod I’d wrap myself in
Night Music.
Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings.
It cradled me
And cracked open the edges of the grief of a separation that had been shadowing me for
Way too long.
The violins, cellos and double basses were soft, mellifluous, pastoral and tranquil.
Oddly uplifting in their melancholia.
My breathing would deepen.
My lids relax and roll down.
I’d be hugged and held in the lush orchestration.
Most nights I was asleep before the fade of the final chord.

In the morning I’d awake, a little closer
To facing my
Inevitabilities.
It was over.

Stephen Andrew is a psychotherapist, writer and musician. A former contributor to Rolling Stone Australia, Rhythms and Juke, he is also a multi-instrumentalist of The Stereo Stories Band. Guitar, bass, vocals, drums...