How Heartbreak Brought Me Home To Myself, Inch By Inch

I wake up at seven fifteen every morning no matter when I go to sleep at night. A light turns on inside of me and I cannot ignore it. I cannot roll over. I cannot not think about everything. 

I get up and go on walks before anyone else is awake, slip out the front door and for July it’s cold and wet and strange in California. 

Early morning hours do not feel real. I talk to myself and work out the kinks and notice people smoking early cigarettes in the alleyway behind their homes. I feel like I am traveling on a plane of time parallel to reality. I am inch by inch crawling out of a deep grave.

California reminds me of someone I once was and someone I once wanted to be. But I don’t really know her anymore. They say you can never go home again, but I don’t know if that’s true. She is always here for me. 

A few blocks from the house I find a park and run up and down the stairs until I almost throw up and that feels good and right. When I was little my mother used to take me to this park, she’d chase me up these stairs and I have intense memories of how large everything felt then.

I read an essay this morning that I’d written shortly after we met about letting people go and understanding the passage of time. It’s like I knew more back then and learned less as the months peeled away. 

It’s strange how happiness and safety can alter our perception of reality, and more so how we are led to believe they could be permanent. You get glitter in your eyes and can’t see straight sometimes.

It was raining this morning when I left the house and I could catch my reflection beside palm trees in the puddles near the park. I don’t always recognize myself anymore but it’s nice to be reminded we are made up of things like limbs and heartbeats and hard stares. 

I pray at night now which I never did much of before unless someone I loved was dying. I feel like I’ve been living closer to the edges of myself than ever before, testing to see where the ground wears out. Inch by inch.

Why I Wouldn’t Get Rid of the Pain of Heartbreak, Even If I Could

He tells me I should listen when someone shows me who they really are. I’ve always had this terrible habit of weaving my own narratives onto someone else’s canvas. My sky is blue, yours should be as well. 

He says it comes not from a place of love but from a space in me that lacks empathy. I think about it all morning while I walk to class along the river, and the wind bites at my exposed neck, spaces that used to be yours.

I go the grocery store and the girl checking me out asks if I am okay and I start to cry. 

I’ve been here before. I know how this goes. It feels like a prison sentence. I know that if I do the time, work the program, get rid of your things, let myself grieve – that, eventually, I climb out the other side. 

It seems really impossible right now. He tells me I also lack empathy for myself. I’m not sure if it’s possible, but I agree anyway.

In the conversation we are not having I tell you about my new poem and how I got a rejection letter from a magazine, and you tell me it’s ok. 

In the conversation we aren’t having you order another drink and tell me about a new job and I listen and pretend like the future has something to do with us. I too order another drink.

I was crossing the only busy street downtown this morning and in the middle of the road like a little gift was a red book, propped open and waiting for me. It’s called the Good Spell, a collection of magic and potions and love charms. 

I laugh the whole way to my car because sometimes, even though the universe is mean, it’s also really funny. I read through the book in the parking lot only to realize nothing in there will help me. 

And then I have to admit that even if there were a spell to stop the hurt, I wouldn’t want to get rid of this part. In a way, it’s the last part of us.

And it’s just silly for me to act like we are never going to get over this. Like wounds don’t heal and roads don’t get repaved. 

I tell myself, eat your own advice and sit with the lonely and braid its hair and write poetry on the insides of your thighs. Pretty soon, it will all be something that happened a while ago and the bruises will all be gone.

What It Feels Like to Realize You’re Growing Apart

In the morning I wake up with the idea of you taking off my clothes, and it isn’t April at all but more like September. And the bed we are in, it isn’t either of ours, and it is something of itself. 

And although I am alone in my bed and the windows are open and bright, and the sheets are white, and all of your things are now gone, I can still hear your voice before I open eyes. 

But it is the voice from when you were gentle and sweet and still saw me as me. I know the different you’s in ways I do not think you even know. I can see them miles off shore and they battle with one another and slip into bed with me and pull my hair or kiss my cheek.

It is different now though. I think sometimes those who are most near to us end up being the farthest away. And this is only because the relative distance is greater. Because I kept you so near my epicenter, the distance now is something no one else could create with me. The closer you come, the farther you are thrown.

My wanting of things has been changing its melody as of late. I find myself driving along the hillside and forgetting I miss you. Someone told me recently how those spaces will get bigger, how the remembering and the missing will excuse itself for greater lengths each day. And eventually it will not return to the table. I had a dream last night of someone kissing the inside of my thighs and for the first time for as long as I can remember, it was not you.

One night, at dinner, at the restaurant downtown with the salad I like, I had a vision. You and I were sitting down for dinner five years from now, and we were not together, and we spoke like old friends who once were in love and had between them something no one could ever touch. And if we are being very honest, I have known ever since that evening that our shelf life was coming near.