Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The unforgiveable destruction of illusion

Some days my heart aches in ways that are difficult to describe...difficult to even admit.  I stare at the ring on my finger and I feel so many conflicting emotions that it becomes overwhelming.  Love, unquestionable love and desire.  Hope, for happiness and comfort.  But also a deep and ever-present darkness...anxiety, worry, despair. 

I have stood here before.  Not here, it was very different.  I was...naive, gullible, innocent.  He was...he was...deceptive.  As more time passes the memory fades, both in importance and clarity.  I don't love him anymore.  I wasn't sure that would be possible back then. I was sure that kind of love was...inescapable.  That the poison would linger, that his thorned vines would continue to tangle and I would never be free.  Yet here I stand, "free". And yet I am caged, not by him or even his memory.  I now realize that the real prison was made by me.

He changed me.  What he did to me cut so deeply, so suddenly that I cannot pretend to be untouched, that I have somehow overcome the trauma.  He abandoned me.  He made me question my self-worth.  He showed me that people lie, and people manipulate, and that all people do not have good intent.  He tore apart everything I believed in and everything that I thought I knew was true.  And the hardest part is not what he did, but that I let him.

A lot changed after this.  Everything I believed in, everything I thought I wanted...it wasn't true anymore.  And a few years went on, and as much as I could I healed.  I dusted myself off, I stood on my own and I kept going.  And a big part of me believed that I had truly healed, that I was okay.

I see now that I am not.  I see the darkness within this sparkling symbol of love, of commitment, of promise.  And that crack in my heart pangs.  It whispers, it worries.

I'm not good enough.
I don't deserve this.
He can't love me.
I'll ruin it.
He'll give up on me.
I'll lose him.
...I'll never be what he needs.

And sometimes I feel like my soul is screaming at him...warning him.  Telling him that he has made an impossible promise.  Because he can't love me.  Not like that, not forever.  Because a long time ago someone broke forever for me.  He shattered it, and he still has those pieces.

Is it wrong to want closure?  I have moved past love, and hate, and even regret. I am exactly where I want to be, but I am terrified that if I don't say some things out loud, if I don't ask him why, that my heart may betray me.  It is so good at running, escaping the inevitable. 

But I am so tired of running.

When did I stop believing in forever? When did I begin to question whether I could ever be loved, protected, respected?  When did I give up on that white picket fence, bringing life into the world and for once feeling what family meant...real family? 

He asked me if I wanted to have children the other day...and I didn't answer. I couldn't...because all I could see was your face that day at the jewelry store when you asked me to look at rings.  I saw the illusion of hope in your eyes, and I remembered how it felt to be surprised...And also how it felt when the curtain fell and the truth was all that remained.  It all came back...the hurt, the pain, the disappointment, the disbelief.  So, I in turn created an illusion, a distraction.  And I didn't tell him the truth.  The truth that I often doubt that others can love me, that I deserve to be a wife, a mother.  You made me fear love.  And while I can forgive what you did to me, that is something I cannot forget, something that I believe may be unforgivable.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

She often looks back and wonders when and how her life ended up like this.  As if there will be one glaring and obvious moment that changed it all.  Knowing full well that the truth is that she changes everyday, that we all do. 

She is a well-educated and intelligent woman.  And yet, she will not give up on the most unrealistic and fictional dream of them all.  She is smarter than she is allowing herself to be, but this is due entirely to the size and functionality of her heart.  She knows full well that her heart is not her emotional center (or anyone's for that matter), that this is merely a symbol and long-standing fiction.  But she does not give up.  She can't.  Because her heart hurts, and she cannot for the life of her figure out why.

She lives an honest life.  She works a 9 to 5 job, and in her own little way she does what she has always wished she could do, she changes the world.  She pays her bills, and cares for her dog, and she loves him.  And yet something is missing, something more than she has always known was not there.  She has lost a lot, but none of those losses explain the overwhelming sense of emptiness, of incompleteness anymore.  She has moved on and she has forgiven many, let go of so much anger and so much regret.  And yet she feels the pangs, the reverberations of the past.

She said once that she was a completer, that she was someone that made others whole.  She sees now that she may have gotten some of that wrong.  She lost...loses... pieces, so many pieces, along the way.  She lives on inside of their souls, those incomplete and broken souls.  And now as time passes she understands the price that she must pay for this.  The completer is both a blessing and a curse.  For she feels their pain, their loss, their regret and vengeance each second of each day.  And it has changed her, slowly, one soul at a time.

Looking back she cannot see it, the moment it all changed, for it never happened all at once.  It just was, and is, and will be. (Forever and) Always.  She feels for them, instead of them, so they don't have to.

So maybe she's not broken, or empty, or lonely.  She feels all of this, all at once, and it is nearly incapacitating, overwhelming, heartbreaking.  And some days she wonders if she can go on, but she knows that she will.  Because this is her life, and this is her purpose, and if she was not this then really what would she be?

A 20-something girl that could have saved the world.

She will be the same person she has always been, or she will die trying.  Die happy and at peace knowing that she never gave up, not on herself, and not on the world.

Because everyone knows this world could use a bit of saving.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

When the lies come full circle

Somewhere along the way she lost something that she cannot place.  She can feel the deep pang for this unknown thing, but she cannot identify it anymore than she can find it.  She has gained so much recently that it is unsettling how empty and alone she feels.  She has grown so much, and yet she does not know whether this growth is an accomplishment, or a curse.  She fears many things, and feels so much loss.  The ripples of her past are growing to be waves of regret, tsunamis of misunderstanding.

Looking back there are many events that led her to become the girl that she is now.  She has lost so much.  She finds it hard to believe that anything in her life can be consistent, that anyone would be willing to stay.  People always leave...and the wreckage they leave behind is nearly insurmountable.  She has picked up her own pieces so many times that she is sure she no longer resembles that girl that she used to be.  She is saddened to leave so many versions of herself behind.

And yet she is not.  That girl that she used to be, the many versions that have existed along the way, they were lost.  She does not remember a time in her life that she was not lost.  So as she stands on solid ground for the first time it is unfamiliar.  She does not trust the feeling that she will not fall.  But she is grounded by much more than she has ever experienced.

She has love.  Honest love.  But she is unsure if she can believe him.  He seems different, but then again didn't they all?  She knows that her past has marked her.  She is aware of the exact moments that have caused her to doubt this.  And there are moments, times when his eyes shift, or when his smile twists in just the right wrong way.  And she is taken right back, back to that moment.  She sees another's eyes, and she feels everything she thought she had let go of so long ago.

The truth is that it still hurts.  It might always hurt.  It may never change.  And as time goes on he is less accepting of the flaws.  He understood in the beginning, but he has reached a point where it is not an excuse anymore.  He will not accept that she is damaged anymore.  She is terrified, unsure.  She does not know what to do because she cannot change this.  She has tried so hard to leave that in her past, those feelings, that abuse.  But as she types this she knows she never will.

If we are honest he ruined her.  She will always hold on too tight.  She will always fall too hard.  She will always wonder.  Wonder if there is not a monster behind those beautiful eyes.  She does not have a problem loving, but she will never trust that those eyes will not quickly and quietly turn.  She may never believe that she is enough.  And she will never allow him deep enough inside her heart to crack it.  If she could, if he could look into that chamber, if he could see who she truly is, would he stay? 

When she was 18 she fell. Fell hard and fell fast, and surrendered everything she had inside of her heart and inside of her soul to a boy.  And for years she believed she had something that no one else could ever or would ever understand. She thought she was lucky, that they had that one in a million first love that would last forever.  And then he shed his lies, and he broke her. No wound compares to the scars that remain on her spirit.  Her wings are blackened, and they are tattered and they hold tight and protectively around the pieces of her heart that he left behind.

She lost so much more than a boy the day he walked away.  She lost direction and she lost faith, in herself and also in the world.  Years later she has not found her way back.  And she wonders if maybe she had her love.  She wonders if her epic love was wasted.  But more than anything she wonders if she will get another chance, if this is her chance and she is simply too broken to let him in.

He loves her. But he has never seen what she hides.  So life has come full circle and it is she that must shed her lies.  And she fears that look in his eyes when she breaks him just the same.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

She has woken up from the haze and realized that she has run again.  Run out of reasons, and finally out of breath.  She blames the world for how she is feeling, believes that it has given up on her, ripped everything that was meaningful away.  And when she spins it that way it feels better.  It is still almost incapacitating when she forgets to fight it, but it feels better, better than it would if she were to tell the truth.

She was never good at truth.  She looks them in the eyes and she mirrors her two favorite deceptions...either the person they want her to be, or the person that puts that image to shame.  She is either everything you've ever wanted, or everything thing you wish she was not.  But what she guards most protectively is the truth. 

The truth that she's afraid of who she is.  Of where she's going, but mostly of what she has left behind.  She ran away from reality a long time ago and it was at a point in her life when it was easy.  He friends were growing up and moving away, and she stayed.  Stayed not because it was easy, but because it was the hardest choice she thought she could make.  To stay, when every fiber of her being wanted to run.  Run away from him, and tub away from life and everyone and everything that reminded her of him.  She stayed, but somehow she also still managed to run.

As she grows both up and also more in love with another each day she realizes just how far she has drifted from those she once was so close to.  So far that she is not sure how to get back, or if it even matters if she were to try.  But her heart hurts some days, knowing that she does not know them anymore, that she might not ever again know them the way she did.  And she is lonely, lonelier than she imagined was possible.

And it is getting much harder to lie.  It gets harder each day to smile.  To laugh.  Without also starting to cry... and her illusions fail her, for the first time.  But there is no one left to notice.

So I run, because it's really the only thing I've ever been good at, or felt comfortable with.  And maybe if I'm lucky I'll find something to bring me back.  You can never really go back, and the friends you had in high school aren't really your friends for life, but as I lay here I see their faces.  I hear the promises we made, and part of me still believes.  Part of me wonders if I wandered back to that swing set, or that pier if they might be waiting.  Smiling, ten years later.  Because friendship just changes meaning as we grow. It changes shape, and it gets much much harder, but it's always there.

Sometimes you just have to have faith and run in the right direction...

J-L

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

If running were a competition she'd hold the record

Her tears are dried now, her breathing has calmed.  She feels that pang in her chest still though, and her eyes sting with pain, with acknowledgment.  She knows, but refuses to believe it.  She knows that she is standing about a thousand paces ahead of where she should have known to turn around. To let go, again.  She wonders if maybe she wasn't built for a life with another. And the tears they fall anew.  Recognizing that she's sure. Sure that she's too broken to make it, but too wounded to make the journey back.  And she's caught in the same battle she loses every time.  She feels the overwhelming urge to run.  Run away from him and back to...back to what she's unsure.  Back to the boys that are as incapable of love, but also of hurting her? Back to the life that was okay for today and tomorrow and that's all that mattered? She knows that is not enough, but is also quite aware that she is unhappy with the place she has ended up again.  She's lost, and again she's alone.  He's all she has, but what if he's not enough?  What if no one ever will be?

She fears that she will always end up here, sad, alone, tired, and running before she has even gotten herself up off the ground.  Her lungs burn and her heart is being out of her chest.  She is unsure if she can quell the urge to flee.  The water it calls to her, as if all will be well if she returns to the shore.  To the only place that will ever be home to her.  This time he will not find her, he will not even know to look.  This girl grew up and moved on, but ten years later she reacts to sadness the same.  But no one that knew her then knows her now.  If she could drown this feeling she would.  But the only way she knows how could ruin everything.

and she so desperately wants to care, but she fears it will not matter until it is much too late and she has gone much too far. 

If only he knew it was time to save her, maybe she'd survive, maybe she'd want to.  Maybe she wouldn't still want to run...

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

To the boy with all the luck, from the girl that didn't believe in it

My heart hurts.  Deep pangs, to remind me of what I have lost, of what I have given up.  I cannot make this pretty today.  It is dark, and it is lonely, and I only have myself to blame.  We make choices everyday.  A thousand mindless and inconsequential choices, and within these there hides the few that matter.  The few that we needed to make with care, that were lost within the rest.  I should have seen it.  I never should have let him go.  I should have fought for him.  But I did not, I do not.  So I am to blame.

But I miss him.  I miss my best friend that somehow made the entire world make more sense.  Our relationship was all wrong and it was weird, but life is weird.  And we make it work.  So why can't we make it work?

I'm the girl that believes in the world, and he's the boy that relied solely upon luck.  So here I am hoping, wishing for luck.  Hoping that life is not this cruel.  Hoping that the world gives him back.  Please come back.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The key to her story and his heart

When she looks back on today a million miles from this place and everyone and everything it holds she will remember only a fraction of what truly happened. It will be muted and misrepresented by every future event. Maybe the grass won't seem as green as it is, and the sky will be blue instead of this unique shade of gray that should have foretold the importance, the change that was bubbling on the horizon. His intentions might be darker, her purpose less carefully planned.  She won't remember that she chose to wear that dress for him, or that it took her seven hours and nineteen minutes to decide on the right shoes and shade of eyeshadow.  And it won't matter anymore that she was six minutes late, a fact that today was nearly earth shattering, catastrophic.  The details...most of them will be lost, some to time, but also some for the purposes of pure self preservation.

What will remain is only a ghost of the truth, a flawed recollection of the most important and most devastating evening of her life.  He does not stand nervously fiddling with something in his jacket pocket in their favorite spot. His hands are not sweaty and his disheveled hair gives nothing away. He waits at a nondescript park bench, annoyed and time stricken.  She does not lose her breath at the sight of him, enticed by his rugged appearance, and the sense that something important was going to happen did not literally crackle in the air. 

If she were able to rewind, go back to this exact moment, she would marvel at the fact that she forgot the most important parts of that day.  But each day she loses a little more, moves a little farther away from the girl she used to be and the things that were important.  She will not recall the way that he looked at her, or the sharp intake of breath he took when he held her face.  She will not know that she radiated beauty, her eyes bluer in the gray, happiness amplifying every perfect feature he already saw in her.  Instead she wonders why he won't let her touch him, remembers the distance he kept.  She won't remember stepping back, or know that he watched her eyes darken, harden, and eventually set.

All she sees is this boy that was supposed to meet her at the park, this boy that she had known most of her life, couldn't even look her in the eyes.  She doesn't know she shook her head, and wrung her hands and backed away.  Or that the horrifying look on her face was the caused by a paralyzing fear that she was wrong about this boy's intentions, rather than the result of anything he had actually done.  Here they teetered on on the edge of many things...love, friendship, hate, repulsion, sanity...a future together.

And if she could go back and watch it happen again she would see.  She would see that it was his face that fell in disappointment as she walked away, shaking her head, and whispering "no...".  A no that was laced with devastation and the incorrect notion that this boy had led her here to break her heart.  She remembers instead that he left her there, broken and crying...even after the rain began to pour. 

It's funny how perceptions flaw memories so indefinitely.  It did not even rain that day, and that gray sky that she thought was blue? It actually got bluer.  And that boy that broke her heart, that first boy to ever do so, was fiddling with a key in his pocket.  A key to a house that he bought for her, for them.  Because it had taken one crazy night with his best friend under the stars to not only show him that he loved her, but that he needed her to survive.

Each heart here was broken.  And it only took a moment to change their path, their destiny.  If she could rewind she'd watch him crumple to the ground as she ran, see the tears stream down his face, and marvel at the fact that his eyes seemed to glow as the sky brightened.  She would see him take the key out of his pocket and toss it on the ground in disgust and pain.  And if she cared to watch a bit longer she would see that he picked that key back up and set it on their bench with a note.  A note that she never looked for and never found. 

"I think I've loved you since the first day I saw you here.  We were 7, and I was digging for worms after the rain to go fishing with my dad, and when you walked up you told me that was the coolest thing you had ever seen.  I didn't know what love was then.  12 years later I'm not sure if I do even now, but I do know that I need you.  I need you here with me, always.  I know you deserve better, but I want to give you everything I have.  So here is your key...to my heart and our future.  This is why I brought you here today. I was always waiting for you and I didn't even know it.  But run first and live your life and if you don't find what you're looking for I will still be here, and this key will still be yours"

He found the note against the rail of his fence a few days later, wrongly assuming she had found it, but still left him.  And that key sat right where he had left it when he returned.  And his heart shattered, sure of the fact that she had no intentions of ever returning.  And if she could have seen it she would know.  She would know that that note and that key remained in his pocket always.  A feint reminder of her, and the fact that he loved somebody once, still loved her today.  But she could not see this.

She did the only thing that she knew how to do; she ran.  As far away from this place and as fast as she could.  She told herself she could never go back, never look back, because if she did she'd let him break her heart all over again.  The memory twisting and darkening already.

Years later she would return, exhausted with her journey and the lack of something she could not quite place.  And she sat next to a stranger at the bar.  A drunken stranger telling the story of a girl that had left him behind so many years before.  She would listen, and she would agree.  But she would never see that the man also held in his pocket a note and a key.  And a place in his heart that he still kept solely for her.

She still did not see.  She did not see those eyes hidden beneath his ballcap that would have given him away.  She did not notice that at some point his breath caught in his throat when he finally looked at her, saw her for who she was.  She was too focused on avoiding the man that broke her heart that she paid no attention to this rugged and disheveled man that sat next to her. 

She did not notice when he left, but moments later tried to catch him because he forgot his key on a napkin that was not a napkin but a note upon further review...notes actually. The first was rather simple, kind of sleazy out of context.

"5424 birch road, blue farmhouse white fence...I'm still waiting"

And then a familiar note, one yellowed with age and almost torn at the folds that had been opened and closed so many times.

And her clouded memory began to unravel, readjust.  And 10 years after that day she finally saw it.  And she ran again, but with a different purpose this time.