It dropped in my spirit around my birthday in April, coming, as it usually does, without me even noticing it. A fleeting thought that became a seed, blooming brighter every time the thought became more frequent.
Which it did.
It happens, at different intervals, sometimes months, sometimes years, but it always feels just as it always felt every single time it has come over the last six years. A flowering beneath the surface I try to quell, an ache in my chest I can barely ignore but try to anyway. A flutter, low in my stomach when my mind speaks his name without my permission.
Which is often.
I explained myself, my wistful pensiveness, to the girls when they came for my birthday.
“You are such a soft baked bitch right now,” they said, their eyes sparkling and their lips stretched wide towards their hairlines, barely containing their delight at seeing me this way, as I so rarely am.
“Oh my God, look at her face!”
And I hate that I have friends who not only call me a soft baked bitch, but whom can see straight through my defenses.
In April, it was a raindrop. A tiny, but steady leak in the walls in the back of my mind where I often shove him. By May, a quiet brook, rippling through peacefully, but not really disturbing anything. By June it was a river. And by July, if that thought were an ocean, it would drown me.
Right beneath the surface floated the question that always accompanied the downpour; what if?
What if I hadn’t been afraid?
What if there had been no distance, emotionally, literally?
What if I were not the type of person to instinctively shy from the vulnerability that comes with feeling all the things I knew I felt?
What if there had been no him and her and others?
What if I hadn’t been so afraid?
And so, as I often do when I am unsure of how to proceed, I opened my blinds wide one night and sprawled out on my bed in the moonlight. I looked up in the clear Texas sky for the star I convinced myself when I was six that God lived on, and childishly, wholeheartedly still sometimes believes he sees me through. And I asked. Asked why this kept happening when I was fighting so hard to stop it. Asked why I am the way that I am. Asked what the unfinished business was here that keeps this bubbling over no matter how tight a lid I put on it.
When I was done talking, to the stars, to Her, to Him, however you believe, the answer cut through me like lightening almost before I had time to close my lips; because you have not used the words I have given you.
And so I promised I would. I would say what I had been holding, trying to tear apart, trying to hide and ignore for all this time, if only He, She, the Universe, would give me a sign that I was supposed to.
And just like that I got it.
Fairly quickly. And in such an unexpected way I almost missed it and dismissed it. But there it was, right in my hands; what I had asked for. What I’d been asking for.
And I tried. I did. To no avail.
Maybe I should have tried harder. More than likely.
But I am not, unfortunately, a creature so emotionally resilient that my most vulnerable places can be exposed for that long.
So again, I put it away. I build dams and walls and patch leaks where this thing, whatever it is, might seep through. I mourn, as I always do when this happens, and ignore the fear that I will not get infinite chances here.
That I might always have to live with the possibilities of the what if.
Despite it all, here I am, knocking on the door of August, the familiar ache faint but still present. The longing I feel at different intervals, sometimes months, sometimes years, but that always feels just as it has always felt every time it has come for the last six years, still a raindrop falling steadily, and me with no idea how to turn it off.