when richard siken said i'm bleeding, i'm not just making conversation
...i felt that
i’ve been thinking about the fleetingness of love and how we don’t abandon love even when it feels like it abandons us.
it's been over a decade and the details are fuzzy. i can't remember anything else that was said except him saying, 'i'm engaged' and i felt my heart fall into nothingness and the world seemed to spin around me. i couldn't find my footing. he looked apologetic and almost remorseful- as if it were a decision that he had to make behind my back. as if he didn't expect the responsibility to break the news to me. i remember he kissed me again. i remember knowing that the next time I saw him - if i ever saw him again - he would be married. i didn't know how to accept that. i was nineteen.
i was in my early twenties and he was the first person i ever shared a home with. this felt like a divorce. it felt bitter and the anger was palpable- it felt red and sharp. i fought tooth and nail for a place we didn't own but i had made my home. how did we get to this point? who let it get this far? was it more my fault than his? what had I gotten myself into? who was this person? who was this stranger I shared a home with? did i ever know him? did he ever know me? what did we share together? what made me lose hope? i saw his face every day but he no longer looked familiar to me. his voice became an echo of someone i used to be familiar with. the softness that radiated when i felt his presence turned into a hardness - a cruel coldness that couldn't be shook.
when our last words face to face were spoken and his house key was back in my hand, i felt strange. for the first time, standing alone in the living room that suddenly became my living room, i felt like an adult. i didn't feel like an adult while sharing a home with him. i didn't feel like an adult when we stood in the dizzying maze of showrooms at ikea - impatiently trying to pick out a dining table, a couch or a television stand. i didn't feel like an adult when we cleaned the house together on a saturday morning. i didn't feel like an adult when we argued loudly over my lack of happiness or his failure of understanding his growing selfishness late at night in the bedroom we shared.
i was alone. a single. without a significant other. i was scared of the unknown and equally scared of the future- yet, for the first time, i felt like an adult. i was 24 and the whole world felt like it could be mine and i didn’t understand why that felt so overwhelming for me.
but for the first time in a long time, i felt responsible. there was no sadness nor grief -i didn't cry. there was a relief in taking responsibility for my future happiness. my best friend at the time helped me paint the spare bedroom a bold, hideous color. an achingly putrid mauve that was a bearable shade of lavender in certain lighting. it was a color i wouldn't choose now but then, for some unexplainable reason, it felt right. it was an empty, ugly colored room but it held possibilities.
love is a funny thing. it's never as resilient as we believe it to be. we place so much hope on something so fluid. you would think we would learn by now- you would think.
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