The red numbers on the clock are glaring at me. We’ve been locked in a staring contest for some time and by all accounts, I’m losing. 4…5…6. What an odd time. All the numbers are in sequential order. I shouldn’t even be awake enough to contemplate this.
But awake I am. And I am certainly contemplating. Maybe contemplating is too much of a fancy, pretty word to it. I am stressing. I am agonizing.
If my heartache were water it would fill this room and drown me.
I flip the covers off me. For the last four hours I’ve vacillated back and forth between being hot and cold. My skin reflecting my emotions I guess.
I’m trapped here by my thoughts. Every time I think I’m drifting off, a new one occurs to me bringing with it fresh pain, and my eyes snap open, my heart dancing wildly in my chest. I’m gonna die here, in this bed, alone, clutching a teddy bear. I never thought it was possible to die of a broken heart but I may be about to prove myself wrong. I should have believed far sooner than now, at this moment, lying here dying of emotional cardiac arrest.
I’ve never been big on love stories. As a child I watched Disney movies for the songs, not because I believed that this love thing they were experiencing could happen to me. I never had the luxury of believing in fairy tales. I quickly abandoned their flights of fancy in favor of realistic stories; books about the Holocaust, about the slave trade, about the Mexican Revolution quickly filled my shelves. As I grew older I read love stories, but mostly those that were melancholy and bittersweet, usually where one had to die for the other to realize there was genuine love there. I used to dive deep into the minor chords of blues and jazz records, letting the notes meet above my head in a harmonic mash of minors and majors. Sarah sending in the clowns and Billie welcoming heartache every morning. I wanted never, ever to feel the pain they bled through the notes, to just be an observer in the back of a smoky club while they cried to the music. I married myself at twelve years old to my career and promised I would never be a beautiful woman pacing the floor, all dressed up with nowhere to go, watching the door, waiting for some man to come that would never show his face.
But now here I am.
Don’t. Pick. Up. That. Phone.
This is not a blues song, no beautiful sheath of silk strewn around me like rose petals. I’m just some silly woman waiting for some selfish man to call me. It’s not pretty like in a love song.
The question I struggle with most is simple; why?
Why send him if I cannot have him?
I question whoever is listening, because at this point I need answers from anywhere.
I sing a few bars of Nina Simone to myself and watch the sun sneak under the blinds and across the wall. I don’t bother to wipe the tears that fall into my hair. For what? There will be plenty more.
I contemplate the legacy I would leave, if this were my last day. Would I be just some foolish woman, prisoner in this bed, walking around broken because she loved too much, too hard, too fiercely when she should have run screaming in the other direction?
That is not enough for me.
This is the struggle I’m having with myself. Is it enough to just love someone when nothing will come of it? Is it enough to just know someone would be great for you but it will never be? Is this where I take to paper and write the melancholy love song that some little girl will sing in her room years from now?
Maybe later. Right now I’m crying. And I never cry. I’m crying for the girl I used to be, before all this. Crying for the woman I fear I’ll be after this. Crying because no matter how many books I read, poems I ingest, songs I sing, I will never be any better at goodbye than the first time it broke my heart.