The Photo That Makes Your Heart Drop

Steven Depolo
Steven Depolo

It was a picture of a diamond ring. Three stones, square-shaped. I knew exactly what it was and I didn’t find it at all beautiful. It was terrifying.

It was 5 AM when I saw the picture. I was in bed, but my heart still dropped ten thousand feet from my chest to my toes and back again. It did woozy somersaults spinning all the way up to my throat. I knew exactly what it was.

“Fuck it. Fuck them,” I repeated to myself like a mantra, trying to soothe myself back to sleep. “Fuck it. Whatever.” And eventually I fell back asleep, though fitfully.

“You’re being so rational,” people say to me, watching me move about my days so cool and calm and reserved.

I’m not being rational in my head. I want to break dishes and smash things and beat the shit out of people and hurt myself at the same time. I had a dream that I slapped her hard across the face, and I woke up with my palms itching to do it. I want to sit in a stylist’s chair and dye my hair dark and cut out every bit of hair he ever touched, change myself in little ways because I don’t want to be that person I was. I want to write my name in gasoline on their street and toss a match to set it alight. I long to spit my poison all over the place.

But there’s no use throwing tantrums. Don’t you learn this as a child? Sometimes they give you what you want if you scream and pound your fists enough, but mostly you just get ignored until you stop.

“You’re being so rational.” Only on paper.

I do stupid things that I know are stupid. Old-fashioned dangerous things: wearing a slick of baby oil to bake in the sun. Drinking beer while driving around the farm. Toying with emotions I shouldn’t be getting close to, as damaged as I feel. I watched a car drive past me, an errant wire dangling from it. The friction of the highway against that wire shooting sparks all over the road – I could almost smell the hot sulfur. That’s how I feel: edgy, hot with anger, all angles and sharp edges. Thrumming and sparking.

I stood in the shower last Saturday morning, hot as I could stand it, and I scrubbed it all away. Everything I had done and said and felt in the last month, swirling down the drain. The water may as well have been black, it was so polluted.

I turn the Top 40 station on loud in my car and I sing along to every soulless song until I’m not thinking of anything else.

At some point this won’t hurt anymore. I refuse to allow myself to cry about it. I check off the days with imaginary red Xs on an imaginary calendar and one day, I’ll just forget all about it. I know that soon it will stop.

I never liked diamonds anyway. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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