My Pompeii

August 24th. The day the city of Pompeii crumbled to the ground. The day thousands perished beneath the raining ash. And for Isabella, the day she finally became free. An entry for the 'Inspired by a song' Competition. Inspired by Bastille's Pompeii.


2. August 24th, 2013

I awake in a cold sweat with my breathing coming out in short, jagged breaths. I look around my room, confused. It's just my normal blue bedroom, the bedroom that I've lived in ever since leaving university. My hands shake in front of me as I try to slow down my racing heart.


'It was just a dream,' I reassure myself. 'You're okay, it was just a dream.'


But I'm not okay. Although I'm relieved to be free from the horrors of Pompeii's biggest disaster, I'm left with a feeling of emptiness. Not only did my surroundings feel real, but Oliver did as well. I thought I'd gotten over him, locked him out of my heart and thrown away the key. I lost Oliver a long time ago but in that sickeningly realistic dream I lost him all over again, leaving me with a feeling of longing greater than ever before.


With my heart aching to hear his voice, I grab my phone and dial his familiar number without a second thought.


'Hi, it's Oliver. Sorry, I can't come to the phone right now. Please leave a message after the tone.'


When the tone sounds I freeze, completely speechless, as if all of the thousands of words I have learnt throughout my life suddenly evaporated into the heavy air. I try to gather my jumbled thoughts, just so I can at least string a sentence together, but still I am unable to say anything. Instead, I listen to the muffled silence of the awaiting voicemail and close my eyes.


It never used to be like this; no silence was ever this loud, no air was ever this thick, and no cloud was ever this grey. But in the past few weeks it's as if all of the light has gone, and I've been left in darkness with no one to offer me their torch to lead me through.


He told me he loved me. He said he'd always be there for me. So why now, after years of building up a wall of love and trust, is everything tumbling down? We were meant to be strong, and tall, and unstoppable. But in a matter of days everything I know – everything I have ever wanted – changed so fast that it suddenly seems like there is not enough oxygen for my suffocating heart.


With my heart feeling even heavier than it did before, the time limit on the voicemail eventually expires so I hang up.


I don't know how it got like this, how he never even put up a fight. Because that's what you're meant to do when you're in love, isn't it? You're meant to fight for each other, and not let everything you've ever worked for, everything you've ever loved, leave without putting up a fight. But how am I meant to fight for our love when he has already given up?


If I close my eyes I can almost feel his heart beating through the thin fabric of his shirt; I can hear the steady rhythm of the beats, bad-um bad-um bad-um. The crooked smile he greeted me with in the morning, the taste of the thousands of kisses we shared, the smell of his shirt when he pulled me into his arms, promising he'd never let me go. If I close my eyes it feels like nothing has changed at all.


But when I open them I'm forced to accept the reality: he's not coming back, now or ever. No amount of optimism can make me believe that we'll get back everything we have lost. I think I knew that all along. All of the empty promises, the meals that had been planned for two but were eaten by one, the numerous business trips, the smell of a foreign perfume; they were all signs, signs that I overlooked with a sad smile on my face. Yes, I knew from the start that the supposed walls of our love was simply rumble from the start. The walls fell down a long time ago, but I wasn't ready to accept that until now, until the dust of our fallen love had become too thick and too suffocating.


Oliver isn't a light in a darkened city, promising to guide me through. He isn't a voice calling to me when I thought I was all alone in the world. No, he's the opposite. Although my subconscious mind viewed Oliver as my hero, he was in fact the lava. In one quick rumble, he destroyed my whole world and then left me alone in the rubble.


But now I know that I can piece everything back together. I can re-build my heart from the dust-covered rubble, and this time it will be stronger than ever. No amount of lava, or dazzling smiles, or heartfelt kisses will be able to tear down my heart, my Pompeii. And for the first time since I looked into Oliver's dazzling green eyes, I know that I am finally free.

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