Finally! The skies have cleared. Not a shred of a cloud upon the glorious skies that make this kinky city lovable and nearly perfect. They make this city mine, for now: Thank goodness for this city!
It had shoved, and yanked, and jolted me for long enough to have taught me by now just how much I could tolerate. It had taught me my strength — and my forgiveness — and despite its endless attempts to shake me off its surface, I have learned to hold my ground. I have learned to stay grounded. And suddenly, it is crystal clear: The storm has passed, the dark mood is over; the horizons are endless — anything is possible! And it is time — to move on.
And finally, I have slept! For eleven mother-fucking hours! The late nights of being spun-out over an abrupt ending of my love affair have officially ended. No more scratching my head, covering it with open sores; then licking them to healing. No more pacing barefoot between the unlit rooms of my apartment, thinking if only I’d run up enough mileage I would come across — exactly! — what had gone wrong. No more sweat-inducing nightmares with every unlikely character taking the place of the departed lover, playing out his departure over, and over, and over again. (Leave already! GO.) No more endless texting session to all my brothers just so they could make me laugh, make me light again; but first — “make me understand”:
“Make a list of what you learned,” one of them, the most beloved and the only one to always outdo me in passions, recommended. “But fuck it, V! What do WANT? Make a list of what you want!”
So, I did. For over a month, I was the perfect student of my own fuck-ups: Jotting down “the lessons”, pretending to be perfectly content with “the experience”. Scrambling for gratitude, getting a hold of it with my two fingers, then putting it against my body like a vintage dress I still could not afford. When will it come: Forgiveness? I distracted myself with plans. Secretly though, I’d still rewrite our chronology, on the edges of my pages, as if I had a fucking chance at finding out when it all broke. When it all went to shit.
The body had started to give in. How could it not? He had become my pattern. He took it with him. All other habits got shifted; all other habits other than breathing. And bathing. But that last one I’d commit only because that’s where his ghost would hang around the most: Balancing on the edge of my sink, in a caramel-colored light, feasting on me with a quiet gaze — so in love with me, still! — just the way he had done it that one night, in the beginning.
So, the system had gone into a self-induced shock: Leaking and letting go.
“Has anything changed, drastically?” a gentle doctor — a gentle man — asked me yesterday.
I had been sitting on the edge of a cold leather bench balancing my bare feet on a metal drawer underneath, and my chin — on my knees. It always happens, in these clinics: Too short to reach the floor anyway, I fold myself into these fetal positions. Child-like: a little girl. Before the doctor entered, I had been studying my toes, wiggling them against the fluorescent lights above to make my nail polish sparkle. How — when?! — had I grown so much, yet managed to hide the little girl in the corners of my smile, or in between these wiggling toes? Or somewhere in my laughter he had once claimed to love the most?
“You sure? Nothing different? Any changes: in diet or medication?”
Had I been given the task of casting this gentle man during my time of having hit the bottom, I could not have been more merciful: The doc looked godsend. With a headful of completely white hair, the face of compassion, and gentle fingers that smelled of eucalyptus, he stood there — all kindness! all gentleness! — and received my every head shake “no” with patience.
I felt like a liar:
“Nope. Nothing has changed.”
But what else could I say? “I lost a love?” That’s not a symptom. And even if I did confess it, how could I possibly word it without making it sound trifle? Because women don’t die of a broken heart. Although, I did once bury this one woman…
“Any pain? Here?… What about here?”
He was pushing into the corners of my hips, looking for the sources of pain in the corners of my body. Well, I hope you find it, doc. I hope you figure it out. Because, obviously: I can’t.
A nurse entered the room and hung above me, while holding my hand. She looked like an older sister, or that one guru I once had who had taught me how to channel my compassion into my touch. The nurse’s face would’ve looked calm had it not been for one wrinkle at the beginning of her right eyebrow. I shifted: Something felt cold. The nurse squeezed my hand, caught my gaze and smiled, making that wrinkle disappear.
“You’re okay,” she said.
“You’re okay,” Dr. Godsend echoed a minute later. “They call this ‘breakthrough bleeding’.” (“Breakthrough”? Holy shit. You’ve gotta be kiddin’ me!)
“But is it normal? Four weeks?” I was beginning to feel relieved; relaxing, landing into my exhaustion — finally! Still: I just needed to make sure.
“Yes. We don’t know what causes it, but…”
Dr. Godsend lingered, giving me the last chance for a confession. I passed.
And so had the storm. The storm — had passed. The dark mood — was over.
“No Chekhovian deaths for you. Not today!” another gentle man received me in the waiting room. Had I been given the task of casting this man during my time of having hit the bottom, I could not have been more merciful: Older than me, he had long accepted my transferences onto his fatherhood. Gently, he squeezed me into his side and walked me out: Slowly, child! Baby steps, little girl. One foot at a time.
From the top of the hill where this godsend clinic was built I could see my city. Thank goodness for this city! Although still covered in that fog of the Bay, it was beginning to feel warm. It was getting warmer. The storm — had passed. The skies were returning to their endless-less. And it was time — to move on.
No. Women don’t die of a broken heart. But sometimes, they do bury their lovers in their “breakthrough” period.
A breakthrough. Period.