Do not let him tell you he’s weak. And when he does, tell him he’s wrong. Don’t let him believe the lies they’ve fed him, love all of the “girly” that sits in his body. Ask him if he would like to tell you how he feels and don’t pry.
Don’t be fooled into thinking you can fix him. You can’t love away abuse, no matter how much you want to. When he asks give him your heart, do it, and tell him to hold it close on shaking nights, the hours where you can’t reach him. Don’t let him believe that you are the answer, because he’d be spectacularly mistaken. Direct him, instead, to a mirror, and ask him to search for the answers there.
If he leaves his heart in your hands and asks you to bury it forever, he doesn’t want to see it anymore, it’s not beating right and it hurts to have. Bury it next to yours. If you choose to love him, remember to love yourself. Take care of yourself. Don’t forget to make sure you’re okay. Because he’s tired. And it’s not his fault.
If he gives you a piece of the wreckage, tells you to keep it, remember to give it back to him later on. It is hard to recognise where a puzzle piece belongs when its painting is in shards. Don’t spend time wondering if he’s stalling for time, or if he can never be saved. Everyone has wondered the same thing. Everyone also left because they decided to wonder.
If he says he loves you, say it back. It is hard to love someone after the one you loved tears you apart, those words are harder to mutter when they fall from his eyes with every stutter. If he doesn’t, listen carefully, because “I love you” doesn’t always sound like “I love you”. Sometimes, it sounds like “I made you breakfast”, “Good morning”, “Sleep well”, “You are beautiful”, “Thank you”. You are now everything to him. Remember that.
When he tells you he’s dying, he’s crying, he’s falling apart, tell him you’d be there in 30 minutes. But if he slips from your hands don’t spend time wondering if there was anything you could’ve done to save him. We all wonder the same thing all the time. We wander around with eggshell hearts, the shards of the leftover love cutting deep and then we realise we left our hearts in them.
Don’t pack up his old clothes to give away. Don’t keep his glasses on your bedside table. Don’t say that you are sorry. Don’t reach for the empty half of the bed when you feel like you need something. Don’t listen to the rain when there’s only chocolate, vodka and tea to keep you going. It is 5am, he whispers. Go to bed. I’ll see you in the morning, promise. And you wake up to the empty half of the bed, and you remember how that number doesn’t work anymore. How the voicemail will ring out for eternity.
One night, if you wake up and realise that there’s a heart buried beside yours, realise that you still have a part of him with you, hold it close on shaking midnights. Feed it the love that you still have, buried deep in memories and feelings. And remember that you are still alive. Remember that he is still yours forever. Don’t spend time wondering if there was anything you could’ve done. Leave the door open behind you, and sit in the quiet for a while.
You loved him. And he loved you, and everyone who had loved him. He just forgot to love himself, and his heart now beats inside you. Remember that he is not gone, because his heart beats inside you. Because it’s broken. But it is still inside your chest, beating steadily for you.