This is for you. You should know who you are. You’ll read through these paragraphs and nod your head thinking, “She was thinking of me. She was writing for me.” And you will be right. But it’s also for the rest of you, the readers and romantics and all you heartbroken who stumbled across this post right now. Today.
There are things I want to say to you. Things that come off as empty, meaningless platitudes that I know you’ve heard enough of by now. Things like, “If it’s meant to be…” with a solemn, hopeful gaze behind your right shoulder, as if the future is just around whatever it is that, at the moment, seems to be the only thing holding you together. You know, the verbal equivalent of a pat on the back, “It will all work out someday,” and “Pain is only temporary.” These things, of course, are true. But they don’t take the sting out any more than a pinch distracts from a slap: both leave a mark.
If I’m being truthful (and I must be, because this is for you, and you deserve honesty), there are other things I need to say. But these things may hurt. They aren’t the type to distract from pain, but rather to invite it— to allow pause for the ache that’s behind your flat eyes. “Numb” isn’t an emotion, it’s an escape. It’s time for glassy, red-rimmed eyes; to feel. After all, when blood gathers beneath the skin does it not heal until allowed to break freely? Your heart will scab over. You will pick at the drying stains matted to its surface so that it bleeds time and again but one day, all that will be left is a fading scar.
I know for weeks you’ve carried around the sharp taste of metal in your mouth. It’s a taste that comes from the weight in your stomach that feels like a heavy ball of steel. It’s the way your heart feels when it splits down the middle, cracking all the way down through your sternum, across your ribcage, deep into your lungs where it catches your breath from traveling back up again.
Now take that, multiply it.
Feel it down to your toes, up through your eyelashes, at the ends of your fingertips — painted black, punctuation marks like periods at the ends of your trembling fingers as if to say, “This is the end. It stops here.” Feel it until you can’t bear it a second longer.
And then, finally, begin to heal.
There’s a step after that, too. When the right moment comes, and the right person with it, don’t fear the pain from your past. Protect yourself, certainly, because some people will take what you give freely, without regard for your pain. But if someone does come along that makes you question those things you told yourself while you were detoxing yourself of the old him (or her, if I’m speaking collectively) from your body, forget to err on the side of caution. Your pain — your past— doesn’t deserve to hold you back from potential happiness.
Most of all, remember that you are not alone. That someone is, and was, and always will be there for you, right now (like I am for you), and later, all the times in-between, to tell you that it gets better — not just good, the way it was before, but better.
You will get through this.