Sugar. Sweet sweet sugar. I just can’t seem to quit you. Everyone is telling me you aren’t right for me, that you don’t treat me well. My friends say that you don’t love me the way that I love you. But they don’t know how it is when we’re alone together. They don’t know how you comfort me when I’m feeling forlorn in the middle of the day, or how you give me something to look forward to when I am driving home after a long, draining shift at work. They don’t know hard it is to give you up when you are woven into almost every aspect of my life.
But, the doctors say you’re the root of my problem, and they’re professionals, they should know. They tell me I will be better off without you. That if I could free myself from your tantalizing grip everything will change. I will move and breathe easier. The pain in my joints and mind will lift. I will have a happier, more open face to put forward into the world which will lead to me meeting happier, more open people. I will find other ways to introduce sweetness into my life. I will heal. I will run marathons. I will move on.

And, for a time, that seems possible. I don’t see you for a day, which stretches into a week, and into a month. Your absence starts to feel normal, less precise. I stop reaching for you in the morning. I stop missing you at every meal; eating only peanut butter for dinner because I don’t have the energy to navigate cooking without you. I start to smile more easily. The pain does lift. I run a few more miles every day. I start to feel free.

But then I go to a party, and there you are. I didn’t expect to see you there. It didn’t even cross my mind that I might, that’s how well I had been doing without you. I didn’t even notice you at first, over in the corner, surrounded by our mutual friends. You caught me off guard. And you look great. I try to avoid you, to turn my thoughts elsewhere. I shy away to the other side of the room. I talk to Lauren and Michael, who aren’t as involved with you these days either, so it seems safe, like there could be no crossover. But inevitably there is. The party gets packed, people get shuffled around, and there we are, face to face. You’re too close. I can’t resist you; I never could. And it’s like you never left. I can’t imagine how I have been living without you.

So it starts anew. At first I try to only see you occasionally, to keep things casual, to maintain some distance. Who am I kidding? We both know that never lasts. Soon we are spending every night together. I run less. My joints ache. My head loses that crisp clarity that our separation had provided. I feel panic surge when I reach for you and you aren’t there. But it feels so right. Maybe I can learn to live without you tomorrow. Or next week. Maybe next month when there is less going on. But not tonight. I can’t be tonight. After all, it’s Valentines Day. It just wouldn’t feel right without you.