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Romance ends, life resumes

 

              The palm of his hand met my cheek.  For the first time in a long time, when our eyes met, he didn’t instinctively look away.  I felt the warmth of his hand against my skin, and allowed myself to drift into the past, if only for a moment.  I needed to believe, just for a little while, that our love wasn’t ending.

                He spoke.  What he said, I don’t recall.  I’m not sure I was even listening.  But the sound of his voice brought me back to the present.  Really, it felt as if his words dragged me from the warmth of fantasy like a freight train tugging at a stubborn box car.  Not to be melodramatic or anything.

                And then, present in the situation at last, I felt the pain of separation all over again.  I couldn’t hold back the tears any longer, and when he saw the moisture gathering in my eyes, his gaze fell to the carpet beneath our feet.

                I suddenly became overwhelmed with a wave of desperation.  Consumed by a kind of irrational hope, I prayed to God that he would meet my eyes again and realize that we were both being fucking idiots.  I wanted him to hold me in his arms and promise to never leave.  Even as the feelings unfolded I condemned them.  It made me sick to feel so desperate, so needy, so stereotypically girly.  Still, I could not extinguish it.

                And alas, despite my frantic prayers, he did not hold me and promise that we would be together forever.  He did not have a sudden philosophical epiphany and realize that I was, indeed, The One.  Instead, he reached into his pocket, pulled out his lamest “get the fuck out of here quick” line, and vacated the premises.

                And another one bites the dust.

                That was a mere month ago.  In short retrospect, I cannot recall an experience in my life that has felt quite as catastrophic as that one.  It felt as if I was caught suddenly with no floor beneath my feet – or swiftly run over by a dump truck.  I mean, what the hell was I supposed to do now?  I found myself not only suddenly without a lover, but also without a friend.  You see, during our courtship I had broken one of the first cardinal rules of relationships:  Don’t Abandon Your Friends.  I, sometime during the two years that (S) and I dated, had begun to severely neglect those around me.  So, in the end, there was no one there to catch me when I fell.

                So I fell.  Hard.

                And guess what?  For the first time in my young life, I’ve had to – gasp – rely on myself.  Quite a far reach for a girl who can’t even stand alone in line for cotton candy at the County Fair.  I mean, it’s cotton candy.  I would sooner walk through fire for something that awesome. 

Anyway, true to form, I approached the predicament like any problem in my life: I got organized.  My assignment: to pick myself up and gather the scattered pieces of my life with my own two hands.  And, I’ve got to admit, I’ve never experienced anything so simultaneously empowering and mortifying.

                To start a healing process is often very difficult because, well, it’s difficult to figure out where to start.  For me, this process seemed to unfold naturally (while I was busy obsessing about what my first step should be).  I began to look inward.  I began to ask myself, for the first time in two years, what I wanted out of life.  What made me happy, instead of we?  Where did I want to be in five years?  It was invigorating and exciting to suddenly not have to factor a man into my equation.

                On the flip side, it forced me to see the darker side behind such rejuvenating questions:  What caused me to become so codependent that I wasn’t asking these questions two years ago?  Or two days ago, for that matter?

                Those haunting questions aside, it’s obvious what I’ve struggled most with is the concept of being alone.  During our relationship, I had let myself fall so deeply into the fluffy white-picket fence fantasy that I had lost touch with reality.  I ceased to be me, and even to be us.  I became him.  Thus, my first assignment upon my release was to carve out a new individual identity – or locate and polish the one that already existed. 

                While searching for that illusive identity of mine, I began to notice that I had more questions than answers.  And the more questions I asked, the clearer it became that all of my questions had a common theme: stability.   My search for identity, for desire, for meaning and for happiness was a mere symptom of an unstable life, thus I had to reach for the root of the problem.  I had to begin with finding the answer to one question:

What does stability mean to me?

                So, where do I begin?  Stability has worn a thousand different faces throughout the ages, which makes it no cake-walk to define.  And as I have picked myself up from my broken relationship and patted off the dust of depression and heartbreak, I have come to realize that I will never find stability and happiness in my life until I truly understand what that word means to me.

                This is my quest.  I have dubbed myself a seeker of life, of experience and of self-exploration and I fully expect that I will come out the other side with all the answers.

… And maybe some cotton candy, too (call me delusional).

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