I recently discovered that I could destroy a future with five words.
On Tuesday, August 1 at approximately 6:51 pm I found myself driving away from my latest emotional murder scene. I looked at myself in the rearview mirror – wild, bloodshot eyes darted back and forth, charcoal tread marks from complicated tears streamed across my face; the lines connecting like a map of the hearts I’ve laid waste to over the years.
I wanted to hate myself for what I did to him. But I didn’t.
For most of that night, I laid awake trying to decipher my own grief from the guilt of knowing his was greater. But mostly what I felt pulsating through me as I tried to steady my breath was freedom. A lot of people I know feel lonely without someone. But what I realized in that moment is the beauty in knowing no one out there claims you. I felt at peace for the first time in a long while as I sunk into complete solitude.
I wonder when it began to feel like home in my own arms.
Surrounded by darkness, my smile crept back to my face, curling on the left like a lazy cat’s tail—another creature up to no good.
Fast forward to rearranging furniture, concert highs, hugging strangers, tequila shots, skinny dipping, Sunday Bloody Marys, Tuesday drinking games, singing songs at sunset, campfires, private dance floors, new tattoos. Take a breath.
Worn out from weeks of binge drinking, eating and running away from my internal conflict, I allowed myself to waver. For the first time since I closed that door I let myself wonder if I hadn’t. I closed my eyes and envisioned myself knocking on his door…
He opens it and the space between us is closed. He is so relieved I can feel his body tension melt away into my arms which suddenly grow heavy again. He is not the solution to my problems. He is a pillow on which to rest my head when I’m exhausted. He is the safety blanket my parents hid from me when I was 3-years-old to teach me independence. Not even in a dream do I live peacefully, comfortably, eagerly with him.
I remain restless.
In real life, instead of succumbing to momentary desires for comfort, I’ll hurt him over and over again in small, unavoidable ways. I’ll find my hands shaking as I hand him a plastic bag full of what was left of him in my life. I won’t tell him that I miss him the same way he misses me. There will be silence between us that I allow to linger because I feel it’s more honest than empty words, albeit more painful. I won’t respond to late night texts or send any of my own. There will be no false promises or glances over my shoulder as I walk away, again.
Even though it isn’t fair, I will move on quickly. In all honesty, I was gone before I made it known.
It’s always been my decision to abandon past relationships but this time it was different. In the past I ran from what I wanted, from potential and futures and the possibility of settling because the idea of sacrificing one dream, one ounce of my being wasn’t worth it for anyone.
So I really wanted this to work. Actually, I really wanted to work at this.
The singular thought of putting in effort to maintain an “us” was so dire that it overshadowed the importance of my own existence, of my own self. I shrank. I molded myself into a contorted version of a good girlfriend because in all honesty, I’ve never quite been one. This was my chance. So maybe that’s why it’s the first time I’ve broken someone’s heart without the repercussion of preemptively breaking my own.
This time there isn’t anything left for me to wonder about or overanalyze at 2 am. While I’m drunkenly wandering streets I’m not looking for him in strangers’ faces. There is no panicking while I’m tangled up in sheets he used to lay in, begging the universe not to let me forget how he smells.
I realize that this is the worst way to break a heart: To tell them they aren’t a part of you anymore.
I’m free while he’s buried.