I’d forgotten how bad it was.
I hadn’t had a headache like this in months, the kind of headache that begins its slow creep in your back and shoulders while you sleep and then wakes you up crashing gongs and hammers in your brain. The kind that hangs around all day thudding slowly and dully, but stops once in awhile to really stab at you and dig the knife in just so you don’t forget it’s there.
You can’t take anything for it. Nothing but time makes it go away. You just have to be very gentle with it. Once you’re recovered, it’s practically wiped clean from your brain.
That’s the most amazing part – we forget how bad the pain is when we’re focusing on good things. We forget all about how bad it hurt. We go right back to that thing that hurt us and get bashed up all over again. We think about the good things and blatantly disregard the bad, and then we end up whimpering in pain all curled up like a little kid.
I thought I had banished the headaches for good. I thought I had pushed them aside and let them be like so many cobwebs in the corner.
He comes over to help fight them, a knight in shining armor and a baseball cap, and gets into my bed and very gently strokes my hair, his fingers getting all knotted up in the curls and waves. I am not used to such outright tenderness and it made me flinch at first, but now I’m used to it. I let him in. We lay there quietly for awhile, my head on his chest the way he likes. He’s always beckoning me to move closer, closer, closer – and I like it. I can tell he is writing songs for me in his head, and I’m doing the same for him, writing him a million little stories and tiny letters. Some of them will come back to me in little fragments later and I’ll send them along in an email or scrawl them across one of his open notebooks.
I always say you should never fall in love with another writer. It’s better to be the one with the wordy talent, to leave them shell-shocked with the notes you write or the long, rambling love letters you wrote when you were too delirious to sleep. No one’s ever written me a love letter, so I in turn write hundreds.
You shouldn’t fall in love with someone who can do what you do, who can write you pretty things about mornings and loneliness but maybe one day turn all those words right back against you. But I don’t want to think about that now. I remember that kind of pain in big, red flashes.
Watch out, darling, there’s a light in your eyes.
And so I focus on the good. I go outside every evening. I lay on a blanket and I rip through books and I think about how nothing tastes better than fresh raspberries drizzled with cream. I savor the little things. The neighbor plays the piano, chords that sound like hymns. I focus on the good.