The sun is high and hot in the sky, blue and massive. Hot enough to welcome bare skin and tan lines that Washingtonians are only allowed two months out of an entire year. The fourth of July just passed and like every year it brought a summer well needed and warmly welcomed. A routine that happens every year, just as it was last year. But this year is different for me. This summer marks the anniversary of one year of recovery. One year of picking up broken pieces of a heart and shattered pieces of a soul so bruised by the year past Im not sure that will ever heal entirely.
Its been a year since the break up of all break ups. Since losing the relationship, the love, the home, the trust, and the family we had created together. I am not going to recount the events of a story told many times through my fingertips, it is unnecessary and time to be put to rest. But what I can do is reflect on what the past year has brought me. The good and the bad and the memories made since his presence turned into its own memory.
When I told him I wanted out. When I told him I wanted to move on and he should too. When I told him things weren’t the same and we both deserved to be happy and be separate for the first time in seven years, all I wanted deep in my being was for him to say the words he never said, for him to ask me not to go. To stand by me and work through things and bring this back to the love that I know we could mend. But he didn’t. Instead he agreed with me quickly and through the many times that I turned back to him and asked him to reconsider, he did not. He kept on track the plan I set into action. The plan I didn’t want. Shortly after that, I slept with a man that was nothing to me. I fed off his attention and the new experience of being with another person and at that action, I put the very last nail in the coffin of what once was.
Since we embarked on our own lives I have been put through such a rollercoaster of ups and downs and mind fucks that sometimes its hard to keep one emotion for too long. Most days, I am finally happy with my decision. Most days I feel grateful for the friends Ive made, the experiences Ive had and the memories Ive created soley on my own. I feel accomplished, like I achieved what I started this all for in the first place. And while that is all true, they’re are still days where the sheer pain of his absence in my life sticks in my heart like a sharp knife. It takes the breath from my chest and the tears from my eyes.
When we spent our last night in the home we shared together he went home to the comfort of his family, and I went to a cold, unfamiliar spare bedroom of a friend who was so kind to open his families home to me for a short while. After I had overstayed my welcome there, I moved to my sisters couch, right in the center of the chaos they live. All in all, I was without a home of my own for over two months. When I finally did save enough to get into my own apartment, it was the first place I had ever had of my own. I was proud of it for the fact that I accomplished it alone. I was secure in it for the fact that it belonged to no one but me, and the constant potential threat of being told I was unwelcome like I had heard first, at my own families home growing up and then in the home I worked so hard for and shared with him. In this home, I was never going to be told to get out. In this home I was never going to be forced to sleep uncomfortable nights after an explosive argument. In this home I made the decisions without ever needing to take into consideration another person.
For these reasons I was happy in that home. But I was also very lonely. It was two short months after the breakup and I was no where near in a stable place. In this home, I was still invaded by the hurtful and hateful spewing of a man I still loved. We still spoke and argued constantly. It was during the time I was homeless, combined with a good portion of the time in this home that was the lowest time in my life. I did things I am not proud of and I was left alone to dwell on the pain that was so huge, and so real it was a constant suffocating presence. I isolated myself while I drank excessively and took drugs I never should have risked. I stopped eating entirely and lost 15 pounds within a month. And while my pockets were empty and I was struggling to live for the first time alone on a small hourly wage, I let my work go so far into the ground that every day was a risk of getting fired. I would stay up, high or drunk until 3 or 4 in the morning when I had to leave for work at 6. Not wanting to sleep, being terrified of falling asleep and having dreams where his face would meet my eyes, or his voice would reach my ears, or his smell would pass by my nose. And during my day it would be impossible to focus on the patients and the computer in front of me. I looked like hell, even though I tried my best to shield outwardly the chaos going on inwardly. I chose to keep the breakup and the following complications from my boss or anyone I worked with. I could have explained the hard time I was currently going through in hopes they would lighten up on me but I was embarrassed, not wanting to use it as an excuse to be terrible at my job. So instead I played with fire and watched my work life crumble around me day by day