Delete her number from your phone, hide/unsubscribe/unfriend her social media feeds, lick your wounds, grieve for what might have been, and throw yourself wholeheartedly into other connections and interests. Read books by women. Let time do its healing work (It will, I promise). Be a person who takes “no” for an answer.
– Captain Awkward
I finally understood that his no meant no. Really, truly no. It took me nearly six months. I’m not the quickest learner, but I found my way there.
I didn’t like it one little bit. Couldn’t there be a different answer? A way to keep the door open? We’d been standing there at the threshold for so long — open, shut, open, shut. . . Open? Shut? — that I couldn’t quite believe he’d lodged the bolt for good.
What would change his mind? What might convince him to try again?
My disregard for his choice is glaring. I only see it now. My longing for him drowned out every other consideration. It didn’t help that memory laced geography. Every block, a block we walked. The path through the woods behind the library. The restaurant, the park, the gym. Memory turned to curiosity; curiosity to yearning. I was lugging around a Sears catalogue of questions never asked, not in the entirety of our four years. The questions dazzled. The desire to know him again, or perhaps know him anew, consumed me.
I wanted him.
I’d turned into every lovelorn sucker in every country song.
Continue reading “When Letting Go Is A Political Act”
In the photo, he grins up from the base of a human pyramid. He occupies the exact same spot I did in my last pyramid, which was, oddly enough, just a few weeks ago. Bug’s blonde surfer hair sticks to his flushed face as he balances another boy on his back. Eight kids, two counselors, and a big field of green.
His first day of camp, and Bug had already found his place in the pack.
Continue reading “Human Pyramid”
Walking the dog, it comes. Out of nowhere, or somewhere almost forgotten.
If my words did glow
With the gold of sunshine
Out loud. Into this ordinary day, I sing.
This is the first time in months my voice has opened like this. It is not the first song, no – there’s always the radio, always mugging for neighborhood kids.
But like this? Just the day, the dog, and me? I am new all over again.
Continue reading “To Fill The Air”
Two months, no tears.
Drought or deluge?
Touch the earth.
Watch the sky.
Image: Yoel Tordjman, “i will go by fire and water”
Six years divorced.
Only now reclaiming the middle of the bed.
Image: Claude Verlinde
Because now we must save the whole world, my son’s bow slips from the strings. The last reverberation hums against windows closed against night. So does the cold flash of his gaze when he slaps the songbook shut.
I walk out.
Continue reading “To Shatter is to Return”
On bike, top of hill, foot down. Red light. It was green as I was climbing but turned yellow before I could get through. It’s a quiet Saturday, holiday weekend. A few cars cross in front of me, no one behind me. The rotation complete, my turn next, I step on the pedals and inch out. The light stays red, though. It is red as oncoming traffic starts to enter and turn left. Because no drivers had joined me on my side of the intersection, the signal never kicked to green. I could wait here all day at a red light that stays red. Instead, I press through. The oncoming drivers pause for two extra beats to wait for me before turning left across the empty lane.
A man jams his body halfway out of his driver’s side window. His head, arm, torso look like they’re about to climb out after me. He screams across the road, “Why don’t you obey the law, you fucking idiot!”
I catch my breath and keep riding.
Through my head race all the answers I would say if his were a real question. Louder than my imagined response is the clang clang clang of his fury: “You fucking idiot, you fucking idiot, you. . .” For the next mile at least, I tense at every approaching engine, sure he’s whipped around to come after me. Will my helmet work when he clips me and I flip onto the side of the road? It’s a quiet, leafy neighborhood. People are out. Surely someone will see it and call 911.
You fucking idiot, you fucking. . . Continue reading “Making Way”