The news. The breaking.
The agony from within; a feeling akin to being ripped into pieces by some invisible monster, suddenly enraged and trying like hell to break free from the prison of my chest.
I know we were broken; I knew we were crumbling. I knew that someday soon I’d be left fighting and she’d stand in the doorway, giving me the look that said it all.
“I can’t do this anymore.”
I saw it in a dream, but this pain I felt far surpassed my worst nightmares.
Did it have to happen days before Christmas? Did it have to happen in the midst of a year that wrecked every other part of me?
Rediscovering her in the waning summer months had been my greatest joy, the great reconciliation of all the journeys I’d been on. I believed we were finally home.
But our journeys weren’t over, mine nor hers. I know now I had to learn to love the climb because we never really reach the top of the mountain.
Maybe this is what acceptance feels like. Drowning amidst a million unanswerable questions, we find the lifeboat is our ability to accept the truth in the silence of the faceless dark.
Because I do actually know the answers to my questions. It did have to be this way. It did have to happen now. It did have to feel like this. Because if it weren’t for all these things, I never would have learned.
I never would have learned how strong this heart is. Never would have learned to take the next step toward sovereignty. Never would have felt the gravity of truth in the sentiment that love requires a commitment to meet the challenge of dealing with another human being.
Perhaps, we only ever truly grow out of death. Perhaps it’s a thousand daily resurrections that not only prove to us our strength but also yield the greatest beauty we are capable of experiencing.
Because here, now, amidst the ashes and shrapnel of the bomb that broke my heart, I find that one persistent truth remains.
Against all odds, there burns a flame within the caverns of my bleeding chest that at once drives me onward and cauterizes my wounds.
I realize now that I will never stop loving. I will never give into the jaded cynicism of a wounded soldier who can no longer see the world for the beautiful place it is.
I will never stop hoping. Never stop looking forward to the day when I meet that perfect match whose growth honors mine, with whom love flows freely, who’s own scarred and sturdy chest holds a heart that persists against all odds.
I love Love. I love the game of seduction, the reward of connection, the thrill of intimacy, and the quiet admiration that grows between two people who have loved for a long time. I love the slow dance at 8 p.m. in a kitchen that smells like cookies.
I love seeing an angel in my bed, kissed by the first light of morning, her lips pursed slightly in a half-smile. I love the anguish of being apart and the jubilance of reconnection. I love the celebrations of independent success as much as the comforts that arise in the face of individual pain.
And the thought startles me. Even broken, mangled, and badly bruised, this heart of mine whispers the secrets of a love that won’t stand down. I am surprised by my own strength, in admiration of my own resilience.
So I offer a sly wink and a nod to that part of me that will always be searching for love, I brush the dirt from my clothes, and I stand up. There may be a bullet wound in my chest, but my fire is still burning, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let this pain take from me the greatest love I’ve ever known: the love of Love itself.