The Art of Moving On


There’s a girl in an oxblood parka sitting on a dark brown park bench in Downtown Toronto. She’s holding a cup of coffee and a first edition of Mrs. Dalloway. She’s alone and not looking up to greet strangers. Her eyes had been swollen from crying the night away.

She’s thinking about her future and her exam schedule. She’s thinking about the boy who’d broken her heart. She sighs at the thought of his lips pressed ever so gently on her forehead. She shivers as she searches for the feeling of having his fingers run down her arms. She realizes that he’s gone, and now it’s time to move on.

She could overthrow the British monarchy, become Queen and have her face printed on all the $20 bills, so that when he buys cigarettes for himself or a Grande iced chai latte for another girl he meets, she can still always be with him. He’d carry her everywhere. He’d work hard just to have her around. They’d be together forever.

She could become a street lamp controller and work a few feet above this futile earth, even if it’s just for a few hours at a time. She could find the shade of light that makes him handsomest. This way, every time he looks up above him, he’ll be facing her direction, glancing into the void. Every time he turns around, she’ll be there with him when he shines.

She briefly contemplates becoming a writer to lay down her feelings in ink on paper. She wants to give others a glimpse of her past relationships. But if she puts it in words, she might betray the secrets she never knew she had. So she chases that thought, and decides to wait for someone to gaze into her eyes lovingly, for that is the only way she can be understood.

She briefly imagines her life as a pop diva, wearing glittery outfits with perfect hair and makeup, singing songs that subsequently play on the radio for days. That way, when he pursues other girls, he’ll be reading lyrics from her songs as their Instagram photo captions, and that way every time he speaks to those girls, there’ll a bit of her behind every interaction, every whisper, every dance.

And then it hits her: he’s hurt her. He took her for granted. He started texting other girls as she helplessly threw her arms around his neck and darted her fingers through his hair. He stopped calling. She shouldn’t be thinking of ways to stick around anymore. She shouldn’t be planning which tie to buy him to congratulate him on passing an exam; she shouldn’t be making him her priority if she was never his in the first place.

Still sitting on that dark brown park bench, her phone vibrates. “Elaborate,” he texts her. Dryly. Emotionlessly. It’s as if he has access to all her thoughts. He’s clinging on to her mind so she would never be able to forget him. He’s keeping her on the side for the occasional wave of loneliness.

She shoves her phone back in her coat pocket, walks home, opens her laptop and starts typing. She details the thoughts she’d had over the day into a short essay and titles it “The Art of Moving On.” As she types frantically, she thinks about how easy love could be if she could just give herself completely to someone worthy. She thinks about shoving that Italian silk tie into an old shoebox.

She’s finally moved on.

She laughs to herself.

“What a silly article. These are such silly thoughts. What a silly, silly person,” she says out loud right as she submits it to Thought Catalog.