Her hand is on the other side of the doorknob when I open it and trudge inside for the last time.
And already I know she has been waiting two and a half years. Already I know she has words for me.
And me for her. Man, I could stack words on words on words and punch through that front door with an army of Here’s How It Feels and This Is What You Do Now.
Because I know those phrases well. And I’ve been carrying them in my backpack for those two and a half years, waiting for her to ask The Broken One how she glued her hipbones and heartstrings back together. Why she didn’t need a glass of wine to make Friday come sooner or wake before Saturday turned itself into afternoon without her eyelids ever fluttering open.
Why my mirror is papier-mâchéd with sticky note reminders and hers is filled with fragments of the person she doesn’t think she’ll ever find again, buried beneath the rubble of someone else’s sad sad story.
And so I begin.
I set my baggage by her feet and tell her she is strong & independent & motivated.
But I’ll be living in this house alone.
You don’t have to tell me. I am just thinking maybe starting over means something will happen. I was just thinking I have my whole life to fall in love.
But I need a distraction.
Strong. Independent. Motivated. & Beautiful.
Not anymore, she says.
I want her to know that Alone doesn’t have to feel like a prison sentence. That, in a week, I will snuggle up to Alone like a cold blanket and try not to shiver in my new apartment.
But it’s not Alone that she’s afraid of. It’s being The Broken One in a house without an Unbroken One to hold her close when the tears won’t stop. When the hands keep shaking. When her fingers start texting The Ones Who Broke Her.
That’s what Alone does to us. It pushes us away from Strong & Independent & Motivated and forces us to play hide-and-seek for the person we want to find again.
The Unbroken One.
I tell her she’s got to hug Alone close, take it by the hand, and find herself again. Got to learn stability and happiness and hope for a better tomorrow that doesn’t include Him & His Broken Promises & Him & His Ambiguous Responses.
It’s the hardest lesson.
Two and a half years of hard lessons stuck to our linoleum floor.
And I am leaving her Alone in this house with the lessons by her feet. Hoping she holds them. Hoping she navigates back to herself. Hoping she remembers why she is Beautiful & Strong, Independent & Motivated.
I know she wants my ears to listen. Eyes to see. A heart to feel her pain in this living room that’s witnessed too many heartbreaks. Too many regretted text messages.
So for now, we’ll be Alone Together. Alone and Once Broken, but now healed.
Now working toward heartbeats that aren’t afraid to fall out of sync and lists that don’t include Listen to Sad Songs & Eat Ben & Jerry’s & Wait For Alone To Feel A Little Less Alone. Wait for this couch to hold more than salty tears and red cheeks.
You got this, girl. You got this so good. You had my back & now I’ve got yours.
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