February 24, 2023

This Time Last Year.

This time last year, she was cursing you. She was obsessing. She was thinking about you, twenty-four-seven. She felt sad, and abandoned, and lonely, and fragile. 

She was night dreaming and day dreaming—all about you. She was trying to run into you, accidentally, on purpose. Looking for you in a crowd. Sending you memes and weird, random, breadcrumb check-ins, just to keep a grip on the last few dangling threads of connection. She felt the temperature drop suddenly, dramatically, right through the phone. As distance grew, as it ebbed away each day, she felt the seams coming undone, stitches loosened one by one. 

But she couldn’t let go. She couldn’t let go of you, or the fantasy of being with you for real, in real time, in the real world.

Six months ago, she was thinking about the good stuff. Pining. Remembering the laughs, the fun, the flirtatious banter. The nicknames, the jokes, the sex. She wrote breakup songs and makeup songs, and songs about how things could be and should be if only. She wrote aching, quaking poetry, lines without rhymes, through her tears and ragged mouth breathing. They were lovers’ prayers about ravens and sparrows and doves and crows. They flew straight from her swollen, bleeding heart, her throbbing head. Her words were desperate, heavy, and hovering. They were weighted blankets lingering inside her space, but holding her, reluctantly, in place.  

Each day thereafter, she wished certain problems could be solved and personalities could be changed. She wanted circumstances and timing and responsibilities to change too, to not remain as such. She hoped for life to unravel perfectly, the way it does in a movie, the way it does in reconciliation, though we all know this never happens. Life isn’t a movie, and painful feelings are real. Profound loss leaves holes, jagged pieces on the floor, a charred, barren landscape. Growth is difficult work. Rising from the ashes coupled with the daily grind of simply being human is a drudging imposition. So exhausting she almost gave up.  

Plodding along, though, she found herself again, and about a month ago, without a parade or party, the sun came out. She watched it peek over the horizon; she watched it rise and beckon the day. She heard it call her name, so sweetly, like a mocking bird. She sipped her coffee and exhaled and slathered more butter than prudent on her multigrain toast. She pulled her running shoes on. She got down to business, the business of getting on with things. The business of dropping chains, releasing choke holds, and caring about herself for a change. Caring about the present instead of the past. The beauty of that morning will never be lost on her.

Today, you are gone. She wants only good things for you, and there’s nothing left to say. There are no more birds perching, waiting for their conjured metaphors. 

Now, when she thinks about you, it is bittersweet. There is a small lump in her belly, still, and a soft catch in her breath, yes, but her heart no longer skips a beat.


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