Where do we go from here…

Just a girl searching for an explanation with a good bottle of wine in tow…

Boom

The watch she bought me for Christmas stopped keeping time the week before we broke up, and I can’t help but look back with a tinge of envy that it knew our time was up before I did.

It didn’t happen all at once really. It was a slow disintegration, the chalk of our relationship left out on the rain a bit too long until all that remained was a pile of mush. I sat there and squeezed it through my fingers surprised at how soft it was and how quickly simply rubbing it through my fingers made us disappear.

The words are never ever easy to say, which is why sometimes it takes a few tries to spit them out. And like a bomb exploding, you can’t take them back–the switch has been flipped…for better or worse, we’ll see. For a moment, we just lie there, shocked, in the shrapnel trying to figure out if that really happened, waiting for the hurt to settle heavy in our bones.

I can’t help but wonder why no one has stopped me to ask about this bleeding hole in my chest or why these pain killers aren’t taking away any of the pain.

unfinished.

You sat there across from me
Your face, weathered, etched into
A history of our own
And in one quick moment,
I read the volumes unabridged
Off of the soft skin of your cheeks
Complex.
Captivated by your ocean eyes staring into my space
And my face–a hopeless attempt
to convince me of a truth that no longer exists
I watch the words escape your lips
quietly, sweetly, swaying gently and landing softly
Ashes of all the conversations we’d had before
Struck and burned and blown
Until they landed in the space between
Our words and our bodies
Visible, yet disintegrating at the touch
Like the contrived love notes
you left in random pockets of my suitcase and my soul
Tangible, yet meaningless
I felt the paper in my fingers
I read your scrawled writing
scratched by your nails into that sheet and the skin that covered my wounded heart
You hesitantly reach your fingers across the table
Miles of desert stretch out in the mere feet between our souls
And I flinch as I feel the valleys of
The prints of your fingers touching the flesh of mine

Damnit, Jamie

“I don’t feel like we’re communicating…connecting.  I don’t feel connected with you, tangled in you, in the way I want to be, in the way that I think we should be…this isn’t working for me.”

I can’t remember the last time I’ve had a conversation so difficult.

I keep thinking of a line from a country pop song, “so casually cruel in the name of being honest…”

I’m trying to be honest…but am I being cruel?  Fuck.  I hope not.

I sat there, across the table from you in that dimly lit pub, staring into my pint pretending it was doing something of great interest while all I was really doing was avoiding the sight of the tears welling up in your dark eyes, as I realized they were welling in mine, too.  And I couldn’t figure out if it’s because I was legitimately sad or if I was just feeling so fucking terrible for how I was making you feel at that moment.  Silently wishing that I could speed us right through this conversation to that point where we’re spit out on the other side–changed, perhaps pained, wiser, but still whole.

“Damnit, Jamie” you said, with confidence and clarity I’ve rarely witnessed.  You were serious, but I still wasn’t sure what you meant.

I never wanted to hurt you.

My mind was racing. Your smile was straight and bright and distracting. Am I fucking up? What if I’m fucking up.  What if this is as good as it gets and I’m fucking up?  I’m not fucking up.  I know what I want.  I know what the issues are.  I know this doesn’t work.  Calm down.  Find the calm–hold it close.  Breathe.

I paid the bill.  We grabbed our coats and walked out into the middle of a snow storm.

The clouds of freezing breath escaping us were the only thing that passed between our two bodies as we crossed the street. I instinctively reached my freezing fingers out to your hand and then reminded myself not to. I tucked my fingers back into my fleece lined coat pocket.  We end up on the corner.  Not touching. You’re parked that way, I’m this…

A snowflake landed on your cheek and I watched it melt as I leaned in to give you a hug. You said, “Okay, so I guess I’ll talk to you.” In that sentence, I hear your voice crack as your breath switched rhythm and I realized you’re crying.  I quickly let you go, turning to my right without even looking at your face one last time.  I couldn’t look.  I didn’t look back. I hoped it was snowing hard enough that as the distance built between us, you couldn’t see me and my unreturned gaze, even if you wanted to. 

 

Resolve

Resolutions.  

My sister posted on the topic.  It’s something I’d thought about, but since reading her post, I’ve been thinking a lot more.  What are mine?  

Resolve.

Resolute.

To do something.

What will I do?

I’ve thought of a lot of things:  Work out more.  Drink less.  Eat well.  Hydrate often. Give more. Be better in all of my relationships. Put my laundry away the same day I pull it out of the dryer (um, nearly impossible).

But I keep coming back to this idea of happiness.  Because, while I might “only” be in my 20s, I think I’ve realized that’s where it is–the good stuff.  

So this year, I resolve to be happy.  Purposefully happy. Intentionally happy. And to work at it on those days when I’m not really feeling it.  To stalk it down if I can’t find it.  And be gentle with it when it’s near, and be gentle with myself when it’s not.

Do I want to work out more?  Yes, of course.  Should I drink less?  Probably.  Do I want to continue to eat well?  Sure.  But if I happen to be enjoying life, and the moment I’m in, and I end up drinking a little too much wine and laughing until I cry, while eating junk food, and staying up so late that I miss the alarm for the gym in the morning, I resolve that I will not beat myself up for that.

This year, I will live the goodness.  I will search for it, and befriend it, and probably fight with it a time or two.  Hell, I’ll take it to therapy if the need arises.  But the truth is, I’m committing to this, and I resolve to find the happy.  The good that sneaks up in those short little moments when the laughter is loud, or the light turns green, or the words don’t end.  Those moments when the song that’s playing could fit your life’s soundtrack perfectly, or when the light is just right at the break of day and you wake up 10 minutes before your alarm and can just be…just lay there, gratefully and enjoy the peace of a new day and the dawn that comes with it.

I’m optimistic.  This is new.  I am going with it.

Happy New Year, y’all!

 

Conversations Worth Saving

She said, “So, answer this: Why don’t you know how to feel?”

I replied, “Because I’m almost embarassed by how tangled I am to this.  Like there’s this whole root system that bore its way into this relationship and those roots have settled themselves into all the mushy parts and even if the tree has been cut off the roots are still there. I need a person who knows more about trees to tell me how to get to the roots and kill them. To kill them and just let.this.be.over.  It’s just…the roots.”

She said, “When you take a tree out, roots and all, it’s pretty obvious for awhile. There is a large mound of dirt where the tree used to be. There is grass around it, and it makes the spot of dirt look darker and more obvious. But it does not make it look worse than when a dead tree was standing in the way of a great view. I’ve also heard that a tree’s roots go down as deep as the tree goes up into the sky.  Ergo, if you continue to grow this relationship, through communication, etcetera, you might draw the parallel that you’re making your roots deeper, clunkier, more tangled. It’s gotta stop growing before the roots can come out. No one can tell you how to do it. I think it’s about you making the choice that you respect yourself far too much to let this person continue to disrespect, manipulate and lie to you. You owe it to yourself to find who you are again, catch your breath, and get ready to plant some new roots.  That tree is dead and it is in the way.”

Texts

5:02a: “I wish you were here with me right now.”

The whistle of the text woke her from 6 solid, sound hours of sleep found only after the consumption of the glasses of wine she’d had while celebrating a dear friend’s birthday.  She quickly sifted through the tangled, blue and white striped sheets in the dark, although she knew instantly who sent the message. She knew this because she knew exactly who was traveling at this hour and exactly who was sitting alone, in an airport, without her.  She knew she should have turned the phone to silent before tucking it in with her the night before, and she knew without looking and without reading a word that the message was sent by KJ.

She was supposed to be on this trip, too.  Headed east to meet KJ’s family; KJ, who had become such a part of her life over the six previous months.  She was supposed to be there too.  To take those two long flights before landing in North Carolina and being consumed with days spent meeting sisters and brothers and parents and step-parents and nieces and nephews and turkey and grace and being thankful…but she didn’t go. She could not do it.

When she thought of KJ taking those two flights alone, next to an empty seat suffering the hangover she encouraged the night before while trying to forget, she felt …. Sad?  Sorry?  An inexplicable empathy only the broken-hearted can feel.

And she thought of the eight weeks leading up to this point.  The days and nights and omelets and text messages spent trying with such great hope that something would again click, that their voracious partnership, that passion or love or whatever it might have been, would re-emerge and exist as it had in the weeks before it’s premature demise a couple of months earlier.

But it never did click.  It never made sense.  The walls, built up and reinforced, proved indestructible despite the chisels and the hammers and bottles of wine and conversations and shared nights they’d taken up against them.

With a guilty heart and an apologetic stare two weeks before she should have been boarding that flight, she allowed five painful words to escape her lips, “I cannot go with you.”  And nothing was ever the same.

5:19a : “Maybe it will be like the movies and you’ll come to me.  You know, where you rush to the gate, suitcase in hand, right before we take off…”

She teetered over the precipice on which she stood, tumbling into the depths of a crumbling heart and the reality of the end.  The finality.  Over.

Because, you see, it’s not like the movies. She didn’t rush to the gate with frazzled hair and eyes filled with tears, apologies streaming her lips.  Instead she lay there, in her warm bed, blanketed with her favorite paisley green comforter and a paralyzing avalanche of emotion while she softly, solidly whispered, “goodbye.”

I cannot quit listening to this.

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