Some days the world is bright and beautiful, more beautiful than I ever realized before. I wake up to the sunlight illuminating my gauzy curtains- something that never happened before because you needed those heavy black out curtains. Your insomnia, always a large stone in the wall between us.
I look at the little one all snuggled in bed with me and feel a twinge of guilt that he wasn't always there- your allergies. But, I think, he's here now. And this feels right.
I get up and stretch and putter around my new kitchen making breakfast, spooning dog food, smelling coffee. No need to be too quiet- no one to wake up. The space is starting to feel like mine and a routine is starting to build. Life is easy, I am able.
I meditate and chant right out my open fire escape door. I feel the wind on my skin, the sunlight on my face, smell the grass in the yard below. That window I used to hide by so the neighbors won't see is gone and I'm not hiding anymore. If I stopped hiding from you then what the hell is the point of ever hiding again?
I walk to work. What a revelation. No car, no traffic, no desperately clinging to the radio to try to distract myself from the maddening exercise of commuting- I walk. That alone is a miracle and I love it. I feel more in tune with everything. I feel like I'm helping the planet- all that stuff about no carbon emissions and no relying on oil. I feel free- not trapped in a car stuck in traffic. And I smile at the knowledge that I'm going to hit my daily step count with ease.
Work is a calling instead of just a job. I help people. I listen. I am genuine and caring and fully present. I think about how everyone, always, is doing the best they can and I feel a genuine pride in being part of the human race. And even the paperwork isn't so bad because I'm doing it. I'm living, I'm surviving. Hell, I'm thriving. This is right.
I walk home, and in all honesty I feel a tiny bit like a bad-ass anime character with the wind whipping my blue hair across my face. Hair that I cut and colored because you always wanted it long and natural. I look out across the town and I love it. This is home now. This is my town. I am strong, independent and fearless. I am all the things I want to be and I fit here.
I cook- something I almost never did with you. I can be adventurous and "just throw something together" without planning because I only have to feed myself and I'm so much more open to trying. No more take out, no more mindlessly watching tv waiting for you to come home. It's just me and Buddy now and we're free.
I go to sleep and feel like I can do this- this life without you. It'll be better. I will be better. I will be all the things I've been working so hard to become because I'm no longer stifling so much of myself to keep playing the version of me that you wanted. I know- I feel it deep down- that this was the only way. And I'm sorry I hurt you, I'm sorry I spoiled that perfect picture of everything being just fine. But I know I had to- because this is who I am meant to be, and I couldn't be this when I was with you.
But then, some days the world has a shadow over it. It isn't as simple as a change in the weather (though I seem to be a lot more effected by those now.) It's a change in me. I wake feeling heavy and weighed down. As if my bones are made of lead- still brittle and breakable but so, so heavy. Moving is difficult. Breathing is difficult- that tightness in my chest is back.
I think of you and I miss you so deeply I can't keep the tears back. They bite at the backs of my eyes and my throat closes up the way it always does. My body is a prison I can't escape from and I feel betrayed by it. Like everything is conspiring against me before I've even gotten up.
Breakfast, teeth-brushing, all the duties of the morning are mechanical; possible only because of their simplicity. I feel sick. There's an ache in my muscles, my heartbeat won't slow. I even wonder if I'm coming down with something though I know I'm not.
I don't meditate- no time. Getting out of bed took too long, everything is taking too long. I walk to work quickly and see nothing- not the sky, not the trees, not the world. I beat the pavement with anger because I'm late and life is fucking hard and I hate myself for it. For being weak. For being dependent on the life with you I no longer have. I hate myself for throwing it away.
Work is impossible. My brain constantly jumping around like an angry toddler. I bounce from terrifyingly intense memories to the details of the day and back so quickly I can barely think straight. I'm fighting it, I know I am. But I have to- work has to be done. Life has to be lived. I have to keep going. But nothing gets done and my anger increases.
My cynical side comes out full force with a million reasons why the world is shit, why the people in it are horrible, why you were right in so many ways. And maybe you were right about me, too. Maybe all this enlightenment is just a phase and I did throw away our life together for nothing. Maybe I ruined everything. It feel like that now. At the end of the day I feel defeated and useless and weak.
On the walk home, I let it happen. The tears, the pain that I've been fighting back against washes over me like the tide and I get carried away with it. And it's an ego thing, I know. My pain. My heartbreak. Me, me, me- why doesn't anyone understand my suffering? And I know there are people in the world who have so many more real problems to worry about and I feel like a shit for wanting it all to end just because I'm sad. But I am sad, and really fucking angry. So fuck the rest of the world and let me wallow.
Back at my place I see that my budding home is nothing more than an apartment with a crazy neighbor downstairs and a broken knob on the heater. I see everything wrong with it and I have no energy- none- to try to unpack anything else. So the boxes stay, the blank walls stay and I feel some sense of satisfaction in being stuck in it because I deserve it.
I drink. Way too much. And that critical voice of mine which has been on overload all day long gets the best of me. I am all the horrible things it says I am. My future is bleak and I was stupid to give up so much for this. And so on, and so on.
I go to sleep, exhausted and wasted and dead. But even then, even in the midst of so much self-indulgent self pity and even more self-hatred I remember something. I remember what I've been told- that this is how it works. There will be shadow days and pain and grief. It's not a mistake, it's not an indication of wrongdoing- it's just how it works. Tomorrow will be another day, another opportunity to do better, try again, be strong and fearless and able.
So I forgive myself, just for today. I set my alarm so I have enough time to meditate. I think about what I need to do tomorrow to make it better. I pray and I am grateful and wise and hopeful. Because tomorrow, maybe, will be a bright day.