everything i’ve ever let go of has claw marks on it
Today marks a week since I’ve spoken to her. We broke up almost a month ago now, but on Monday my friend gently reminded me that the moving on process doesn’t start until the actual last goodbye. They were right—this one-week mark feels just as painful (if not more) than the last. Oddly enough, I don’t regret dragging it out the goodbye. I think the postmortem conversations we had helped me find closure (or maybe I just tell myself that to justify my decisions).
Something I’ve learned throughout the course of this messy breakup is that I can’t trust myself to make rational decisions in highly emotional situations. When I deliberated alone or out loud with friends I made many decisions and set boundaries that seemed obvious, but every time I went to go tell her about them I caved in and relented. I wish I had more emotional resolve to stand up for myself and hold my ground when I know I'm right. I doubt any of my friends would say I lack self-respect, but when push comes to shove and emotions run hot all of that supposed respect abandons me.
If you had asked me in a vacuum whether cheating and being told you were second choice to the man she cheated on you with were forgivable offenses in a relationship, I would have denied unequivocally. But I found myself addressing that very question weeks ago, so heartbroken and hurting that I not only forgave her for cheating without even hearing a good apology, but begged for her to come back as if I were the one who had cheated. Thinking of that version of me disgusts me; I can hardly recognize him now from atop my cold ivory tower, but I know that if you put me in the same situation again I probably would do the same exact thing. Falling (and being) in love is really a form of socially acceptable insanity.
Last night she visited me in my dreams to tell me that she was happier with the man she’d cheated on me with and that it was my fault she’d cheated. Of course, this isn’t what actually happened: in reality, she told me that it wasn’t my fault she left and that I had nothing to be sorry for. But my subconscious seems to side with her, or at least feel like I was partly to blame for what happened. Is it wrong for me to pay any mind to what my dreams are trying to tell me? Do they know something I don’t?
I leave for New York in three weeks. I've been looking forward to it for months, but the funk that has haunted me in the aftermath of the breakup has dulled the excitement. I know moving to a new city won’t be the silver bullet I secretly hope it is. And what if it makes things worse? New York has a way of making people feel lonely amidst the crowds.
As I try to catch every last drop of blood on paper I can tell that the the bleeding from my heart is finally slowing from torrential outbursts to a steady flow. The gash scars over with thick protective keloid. Sharp pain is slowly being replaced by a heaviness that permeates my every waking moment. It sits on my chest in the mornings when I wake up and hangs from the corners of my mouth when I try to smile. If I am very still and quiet I can just make out what it says. Be kind, it whispers. Does anyone ever know when they will lose what they love?