You were gone before I had time to think about what your loss would mean to me. How it would affect me, not only then but in the years to come. I find myself stopping in the middle of whatever it is I’m doing – flossing my teeth in front of the mirror, getting my morning coffee (skinny flat white, no sugar) or trawling the supermarket aisles for Tim Tams – and regretting my panicked decision.

I mean, it wasn’t like you’d done anything to upset me. It was a whole other story, one not of your making. You weren’t responsible. How could you have been? I see that now, now that it’s too late, now that you’ve gone and I won’t see you again. This much I know – that I will never see you again. Never ever. That’s hard some days for me to handle. What I don’t know is where you are. Where you’ve gone. I don’t know how to find you, to tell you how much you mean to me, to say goodbye properly. It was clear one of us had to go, but we could’ve lingered over each other, taken walks in the park kicking up the leaves, swum naked in the surf – you used to love that.

I wanted to tell you how I felt the day after. The day after you left and I saw myself alone for the first time, without you. I started to shake. I thought I might vomit. I felt like I’d been kicked in the guts, and the room spun a little. There was no pain then; the pain came later. When I didn’t know how I was going to carry on without you. How I was ever going to replace you.

There’ve been others, of course, who’ve wanted me to love them like I loved you. It’s not possible – I know that now. There won’t be another like you; you were so much a part of me. You were forgiving, never asking for anything but to be loved and respected, and so humble. Oh, how I miss that about you.

It’s been one year and seven months and twenty-six days and not one day has passed when I haven’t thought of you. Haven’t missed you. Haven’t woken at night when I roll over, wondering where you are. Where you’ve gone? What you’ve done with yourself? You were beautiful, perfectly formed. So strong, too.

It was clear one of us had to go, but we could’ve lingered over each other, taken walks in the park kicking up the leaves, swum naked in the surf – you used to love that.

Which is why it was such a shock when they told me you were sick, diseased. Poisoned. I said you’ve got the wrong person, you wouldn’t do that. You and I, I tried to explain, we’re the same. Connected, on every level. And you love me, I said, and I love you. As if that was the answer to everything.

This not seeing one another again is so very final. Was it the right thing to do, in spite of what I was told? Couldn’t I have carried on somehow, nursed you back to health? Instead, I cut you off. I cut you off to save myself. My guilt is a heavy burden.

Dear left breast, I miss you so much. I am slowly adapting to life without you, but nothing will ever be the same again. And I want you to know you were unique; I will never replace you with some shallow, plastic version of yourself.

K. W. George is a Brisbane-based writer currently completing an MFA in Australian Gothic literature at Queensland University of Technology. She has been published in Stilts, Tincture, Margaret River Press anthologies and Meanjin. Last year she was shortlisted for the Queensland Literary Awards in the Unpublished Manuscript/Emerging Author category.