Put your phone on airplane mode, turn it off, slip it into the case of your pillow. Forget about it. Pour a glass of Merlot, never Cabernet (not anymore).
Fill up the bath, don’t think of him when you listen to The xx. When you do, turn up the heat in the water and remember how it felt when he didn’t even look back after flicking his cigarette at your body wet with kerosene.
Remind yourself he didn’t come to collect the ashes.
There’s nothing to build something from.
Remind yourself he built a home somewhere else.
Write. Ruin your poems by making them about him. Write him an email, but never click send. Let it sit in your drafts. Delete it. Write him a letter. Write his name. Tear up the paper. Burn it in the sink. Turn on the faucet and send it down the garbage disposal.
Go as long as eight days without thinking about him. Turn off the movie with the main characters that made you think of you and him. Go back to only watching horror films.
Download Bumble, Tinder, and Hinge. Match with men and women, make plans, but never follow through. Surprisingly do go on a date, have a new first kiss at the end of the night, try not to think about his lips. Ghost John Doe. Delete every dating app, they’re not for you, anyway. Re-download. Delete. Repeat.
Smile. Every day, smile. Even when it hurts. Smile. When they ask you what’s wrong tell them you’re fine. Don’t tell them that amidst all the chaos, you still think of him. Don’t tell them you know he’d make it better. Don’t tell them he made you forget every atrocity in your world.
On your birthday, unblock his number. But don’t text him. Don’t ever text him. Cry in the bathroom when you don’t hear from him, clean up, come out, smile and don’t tell a single one of your friends.
Block his number again.
Don’t put up lights during the holiday season because it’ll only make you think of that Christmas. Avoid your hometown that day.
Go on another date. Whisper Spanish into their ear at the end of the night. This is something he doesn’t get to keep. Taint the memory.
Wake up from the fifth dream you’ve had in which he proposes to her. Treat it like a reality.
Throw away the corset you wore to his apartment the first night he told you he loved you. Go out and buy a new one. Tell yourself you’ll wear this one for somebody else. Wear it around the house, instead. Touch yourself, but never think of him.
Fix your hair, loose tousled curls, spray it down. Take your time doing your makeup. Don’t tear up putting on the lipstick he said he liked seeing smeared on his skin. Mascara and liquid eyeliner don’t come cheap. Look in the mirror all dolled up in your new lingerie. Feel lonely. Take pictures. Save them. Never send them to him.
Put on heels and a dress. Go out, but never to his side of town.
Go home. Alone, or otherwise.
Just hurt until you don’t anymore.
Miss him, think of him until you don’t.
Whatever you do, don’t pick up your phone.