It’s been a week since the mysterious reappearance of my Ex’s Facebook page. The the spontaneous “like” of the picture of us in Italy. The ruins of Rome serving as the backdrop and me blissfully unaware of the ruins that would soon be left of my heart when he lays waste to it all.
It’s been a week and I’ve found my silence again. I’ve realized that I’ve learned not to need him and so I’ve found my peace.
But it’s a restless kind of peace.
A peace of the heart but not necessarily of the mind. I’ve always had a restless mind. I am a woman after all. It is engrained in my DNA to overthink and over analyze. To take the most simple of notions and pull back all the layers, break it open, and turn it upside down and inside out.
Why the hell did he “like” the damn picture of us knowing that I am tagged in it and would be notified?
I can analyze it a million times over and still I’ll be left with naught but speculation.
I know I don’t need him any more because I’m dealing with it analytically, not emotionally, which says a lot. I wear my heart on my sleeves, as they say. It sits there on my arm, bare and exposed to the world, and it aches and rejoices often. I see through my heart for my eyes are often blurred with tears. Tears of happiness for the couple celebrating their 60th anniversary, or the couple welcoming their first child into this world and tears of sadness for something as trivial as a movie or book, or the news. Or the homeless woman with a dog on the streets of NYC.
Now that’s painful. I know what it feels like to not have a home, both figuratively and literally speaking. So when I think about him, it’s nothing short of a miracle that, though I still feel my heart tighten, it’s not debilitated. Not because I love him any less but simply because I don’t need him. Not like I used too.
“I’m serious.” His voice came through the phone and spoke to my subconscious need for permanence. For stability. “Let’s get married.”
“Don’t be silly. I’m in college remember,” I shrugged it off. “I can’t just up and leave and follow you to… wherever the heck you’ll be stationed,” I reminded him.
“Hawaii,” he said.
That was his plan. He requested to be stationed in Hawaii. I’d marry him and finish my preliminary studies and go to nursing school in Hawaii. I was starting to think he was certifiably crazy. Sure we’d known each other for years but we’d only been romantically involved for a few months and most of them while he was 100s of miles away in the Army. And I wasn’t even technically his girlfriend. We had never, you know, defined the relationship, or whatever.
My arm might’ve ached from lugging around my huge ass heart but I’d always been a supremely realistic person, cynical even, so even I knew that was ass backwards and wouldn’t work in the long run.
As it was, we were swept away by our perspective lives. Him with his army duties, his army friends, his army family and me with college. I approached college like an express crash course in finding who you are. I needed it. A new organization every semester. I even jumped around at sports events in a sports bra painted green and gold from head to toe. I definitely didn’t find myself there. In moving so much and attending do many different schools before college I felt as though I left a bit of myself in each place and adapted to so many different environments, that I wasn’t all too sure what about me was real. Which puzzle pieces were fraudulent.
I felt like I stared at the incomplete puzzle that was me almost daily trying to make sense of it all. And then he showed up. Strolling into my life and apartment like he hadn’t been away for seven months and looked at my patchy puzzle like it made total sense. How did he do that? And just like that he stilled my mind and shook up my world. After his week of vacation he walked right back out and again the calls became less frequent until they stopped altogether.
As much as I understood, more than anyone, how easy it was to get swept up in your new life without maliciously leaving behind your old one, it still hurt like a motherfucker.
It did hurt. He offered a way for us to be together but I knew it wasn’t right. We weren’t ready. No way no how. We would’ve both missed out on the crazy experiences we had in the first stages of young adulthood. Tied down by marriage. It was easy to say no back then.
Nothing like Paris.
Nothing like having dinner in the Eiffel Tower then taking the hike to the top where I couldn’t find one reason in the whole world to say no. I was on top of the world with the only person who understood me in all my incomplete, pixelated glory. And he was down on one knee in front of me. In Paris. On the top of the Eiffel Tower. Making all my dreams come true. We could’ve been on our couch back home and I would’ve been just as happy but damn if the fucker didn’t know how to speak to the hopeless romantic in me.
I had no reason to suspect he’d yank the world from under me a month later.
And damn if I didn’t want to do it all over again.
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