I wrote this story five years ago after my first boyfriend broke up with me. Since it is from my high school days it is melodramatic but I recently posted “there once was a time”, a free verse poem, that took from this same experience and even similar metaphors. It may be heavy handed, and i have thought about rewriting or editing this moment. But there is something special about an event that just happened. I wrote this first half of this the night it happened and it holds within it memories I had forgotten. I will not change it. When I wrote this story I was honest, and although it may be seen as trying too hard, it came from the heart during a burst of raw emotion and for that bravery I am proud. Here You go.
Pointless Circles with Jagged Edges
The dimly lit streetlights were not enough to illuminate my tear stained face. The newly familiar houses seemed foreign and blurred from the tears dwelling in my eyes. Even my own car, my refuge, sent my head spinning. Memories flooded into my thoughts almost as fast as tears drowned my eyes. As I gripped the steering wheel I could feel his eyes on me. The same loving eyes that had given life new meaning, the same eyes that ripped all my worth from me in a matter of minutes. His eyes gentle and full of pity, made it impossible to look directly at him. He had seen my soul which is precisely why I could not meet his gaze. Out of senseless desperation I looked to the heavens. The same heavens that blessed me with something I never thought would be mine and the same heavens that would seal my preordained perception of reality.
I felt that there was nothing to be said and my only option was to drive. I controlled my breathing in attempt to muster enough strength to force my memory tainted car into drive. The gears clicked with a togetherness I used to understand. I bit my lip as I slowly wrapped my fingers around the emergency break. I knew that once I put it down I would roll out of the best chapter of my life. I knew that that emergency break had been holding me in the only place that I felt at home. Gathering the courage to do so was a difficult process. Tearing myself away from the puzzle that finally fit my piece was something I never saw myself doing. Yet no gift of foresight could have prepared me for the masochistic act I was about to perform. I let impulse be my guide as I swiftly yanked down the emergency break and I began the slow roll out of love and into heartbreak.
For a brief second I focused on my headlights. I watched as they made the dreary asphalt glisten. I exhaled deeply hoping that somehow those headlights would show me the diamond in my own rough. Then I made the worst mistake of my life. I let my eyes drift to the rear view mirror. I saw his defeated figure staring down into the gutter. The streetlight beamed of his hat as I watched him tighten his grip on the cup in his palm. And with each stressed grip memories jolted through my body. My heart suffered under the voltage of electricity from our former bond. This surge brought me back to our first date.
I could hear my laughter. Clear as a bell, reaching a decibel of sincerity that I never knew I possessed. Physical pain singed my body as I thought of our first kiss. How you walked me to the door, with low hum of and pop of a recently running engine, and the brisk December air making my hair stand on end, and finally the light smell of his warm familiar cologne etched its way into my memory. This all drove me to embrace my inner boldness. As calmly as I could I reached out and stroked his face, bringing him closer to me I slowly pressed my lips to his. The happiness that recollection had formally brought me was amplified tenfold but this time in units of pain. I never thought that the reminiscence I proudly polished would be the sword protruding out of my heart.
I could not tear my eyes away from the mirror. The mirror showed my desire and what I was being forced to leave behind. I pulled my tired eyes away from his limp shadow and focused on the house behind him. At first memories of excitement and bliss tried to break through the new stockades my heart had already begun to form. My barrier was working, memories of playfulness ricocheted left and right but they could not handle the next memory that slowly began to take form. My eyes dripping with tears tried to focus on the road, despite their efforts I became a helpless victim to my own recollection.
A vision from two days earlier ruptured with clarity. His house stood elegantly, the stone steps leading to the heavy oak door matched with square windows decorated with dove white blinds. The winter wind moved the palm branches as the sun stood still in the cloudy sky. I sat on my Volvo talking and laughing with him, his emerald green eyes staring back at me sparkling with indescribable emotion. Although it was a regular occurrence even then I knew there was something different about this particular Monday. Little did I know that that Monday was a day of many lasts. It would be the last day I appreciated the ethereal beauty of his archaic home. The last time our lips would touch. The last exchange of I love you. The last time there would ever be a long goodbye.
My eyes rushed like a broken dam, as they watered I looked back for the last time. He was still standing very much alone. He looked down at the glass as if demanding answers. I too waited for the cup to answer. Its silence confused me as I stopped at the lonely stop sign for the last time. I took one more glance in my mirror and watched his stoic façade melt. My heart opened up to him as it always did. Despite the recent damage it opened smoothly not even a squeak from a hinge. As my empathy attempted to reach him my mind began to retrace the events that had just occurred.
Earlier that afternoon I had found happiness in my cheap multicolored knock off ray bands, my twenty year old tank, and the hope of seeing the man who looked after my heart. I began the slow crawl through treacherous traffic, each red light brough me a tinge of butterflies. The same set of butterflies that I had the moment he first talked to me. The same set butterflies that filled me with fear and anticipation. Despite my giddiness I did have a task at hand. I wanted to address his limited affection, but more importantly sway him with mine. I obsessed over my plans until I reached the long stretch of his coldesack, as I looped my ever faithful goat around the street I searched for comfort in the promise of his loving warm embrace.
Excited to see him I parked my elderly Volvo nearly in the middle of the street. I ripped the key from the ignition. The metal dragging against the inside gruesomely scraping the metal mechanism. I wish I would have known then that that sound foreshadowed the condition of my soon to be bleeding heart. Completely oblivious to my fate, I sprung out of my car and quickly shut the heavy door. I looked up, expecting to meet his anticipating gaze but instead I saw sadness not familiar to his face. The emotion itself looked uncomfortable to be there, the frown was foreign and out of place. His furrowed brow was deep in thought and expressed immense regret. His face tormented by his own decision. His expression looked pained, like he had been right but wished he wasn’t.
My stomach turned, it twisted violently, the acid level increasing with erratic anticipation. Our conversation started with insignificant small talk; the nonsensical chattering about the average events of the day made my stomach turn, I could feel my stomach raving like waves during a storm. My stomach bottomed out one last time as I presented my case in chief. Although I could not bear to look him in the eye, I could feel the sorrow slowly seeping from his stance. I could feel the harsh reality waiting to strike. As I talked he grew stiff and slowly crept closer to me. Each step he advanced I became more aware of the agonizing truth.
He began to speak in a delayed manner with a quiet but firm voice. As my mind attempted to translate his hushed tone, my stomach quivered. The storm raging inside my stomach could not be kept calm. I turned from him and dug my nails into my faithful car’s etched paint as I let my stomach empty itself on to the gravel. My stomach burning and raging just like my pride. My embarrassment, immense, as I could not bring myself to look at him, especially since he still had to deliver the final blow. I stared across the street gripping my stomach and grimacing my teeth as he broke my heart as gently as he could. He talked of being friends as if this was attainable, as if I could contain my raging heart. I can’t even control my stomach.
The rest happened so fast, just a blur of time and pain rushing past me. I remember comforting him, reassuring him his fears were irrational. Hearing my own voice say, “I don’t hate you, I never could and never will” as I held him close. I laughed at my empathy for the man that destroyed me. It is against nature, since when does the victim of a merciless attack address the aggressor’s wounds? I held him close, whispering that I would always be there, knowing full well that I was going to keep that promise, knowing full well that that promise was going to destroy me.
I slowly switched on my turning signal, making sure to move slowly in order to remember the last time I ever did so. I eased out into the street, gasping for breath as I cried. Unable to move I pulled over to the side of the road wishing for the strength to get home. My car idled as I ran my hand through my hair out of frustration. I let out a yell trying to release all the emotion trapped in my chest. I slammed my hand on the steering wheel pushing with all I had listening to the droning sound of the monotonous horn. A flash of white light broke the moment of insanity. My phone lying motionless on my passenger seat illuminated the dashboard. I glanced down to see his name across the screen. I read the long apology, tears streaming down my face once again. It was an apology filled with deep remorse and self hatred. My empathetic heart again began to comfort him. I was the deer reloading the hunter’s gun.
The drive home was slow and is now a mystery to me. The path I had taken often seemed longer and more desolate. The beauty of the housing tracks and the magic of the miscellaneous pieces of greenery had dissipated, much like his love for me. As I eased my valiant Volvo into my silent drive way my sorrow was interrupted by another stream of blinding light. I glanced down and felt the seam of my fresh wound reopen. His name so simple and sweet still had an inevitable hold on me. I grabbed the phone and began replying as quickly as I could. I spent the rest of the evening waiting with a degree of demoralization only a newly torn heart could possess. I continued to nurture him; I was the field mouse sharpening the owl’s dull talons.
Each time I saw his name the twinge in my chest grew worse. I hoped that the intensity would peak and slowly simmer to a stop. I was not so lucky. The pain had no limit, a forever growing weed that would continue to strangle me as long as I kept myself unguarded. The tenderness increased as I continued to remember the pleasantness of our bond. With each text came a memory, memories ranging from conversations to events, each creating a new laceration on my already worn heart.
The first time I said I love you was the memory that cut the deepest. We were in his truck parked under a street light gazing out into the street. The neighborhood was quiet, and it was just him and I like it was always meant to be. I could feel his loving eyes on me, as I turned to meet his gaze, time seemed to stop. When I saw his sweet gentle face, I knew from that moment on I would always love him. His hat was slightly askew and the specks in his eyes expressing his ability to understand and the want for my approval. As the words flowed from my mouth, I tasted their sweetness and sincerity. At that moment I was not only vulnerable but I was no longer mine. I was a part of him as he was a part of me.
Now home, I laid on my bed strumming the guitar’s saddest cord as I waited for his name to bring me pain. Confusion laced our electronic conversation as I secretly prayed for fate to intervene. I sat up all night trying to ease the impenetrable ache all over my body. My efforts were futile, I could not stop my masochistic empathy. The empathy continued to rear its deceiving head. Days went by, and I watched his feelings quickly squander as curiosity for another grabbed at his heart.
I heard an unusual meekness to my voice as I wished him the best. My throat burned as I let out these words, a sin against myself. I cheered from the sidelines, and watched the new girl take her first step on the field. The field that used to be my haven, the field that taught me purpose. Now forced to take refuge as a fan, a fan that has the love for the game, but will never again experience it. I managed to choke out a pitiful “I’m happy for you” but each syllable came out sharper than the last. I tried to keep from sobbing as I accepted that what was done was set in stone. I continued to encourage him, going above and beyond the ex-girlfriend archetype. I told him that I would prevail through this and stop at nothing to be his friend. I relished in my nobility and mourned over my stupidity. I held him up as he tore me down, he stepped on my insolent toes as I did my best to please him and not get in his way. Like an abused dog I returned to him eager to be his companion although no longer needed. I helped him tie the noose around my neck and begun to prepare for the final day when he would kick the chair out from under my feet. The coarse rope continued to rub my neck raw, my toes grew tired of supporting my feeble body as I listened and talked to him every night, no longer hearing him wish that I was in his arms, but of how happy he was in hers. I never believed in feeling sorry for myself or even the concept of regret yet there is a small part of me that wishes I could forget the past few months, let them melt away like the winter’s last snow. I spent my nights awake; sleep had become a myth and good sleep, a legend. Not even the cool sheets wrapped around my skin could bring me solace. Although time has passed the pain still remains a ready wick just waiting for the opportune moment to ignite. Every night continues to end the same way as that afternoon had begun, hoping that tomorrow I will see the man that looked after my heart.