LifeMoving On

A Short List Of All The Places I’ve Left Behind

Inside a compact office building, I dawdled in front of her, barely letting every word that escaped her lips ring through my ears. I stared at her blood-red sweater as her words pierced my heart and encapsulated my entire being. Blood. Blood-red. Bleed. I want to bleed. As she pursed her lips, my body tingled with a relentless itch to relieve myself from the pain, to finally feel a soft, placid nothingness. But as I walked into the chill of the night, all I could feel was the rain striking against my body like the sharp cut of a knife. As I walked away, I watched her chase the storm without a care, only wishing that she would chase after me.

* * *

I stood outside a stark-white building in the heart of the city, a fresh bouquet in hand, scanning my eyes floor to floor. The space was monstrous, imposing in its sheer magnitude, barely softened by the curls of water that leaped from the fountains below. The towering edifice made me feel small, insignificant, unable to cope with the tremendous pain that drew me there. I gazed down at the rose-hued array of flowers, tempted to pare down each bloom in a twisted, spiteful game. Loves me. Loves me not. Loves me. Loves me not. Loves me. Loves me no— Instead, I fixed my eyes on the gentle rhythm of the fountains, wondering if freedom always feels this heavy. I walked away into the aching promise of a new life, hoping I would never come back.

* * *

I sat on a blandly-patterned sofa in a spacious downtown office, feeling my insides churn as I let her words settle into my skin. With every glance at the nausea-inducing rug below me, I felt every hair on my body stand on end as rage boiled in my chest. Self-destructive. Self-destruct. Lord, please let me self-destruct. As she led me into the corridor, wishing me well with a somber gaze and a smile, I stared at the array of wood-paneled lawyers’ and accountants’ offices, fighting the searing urge to quell my pain and disappear, standing inside nothing but a memory of a former life. As I walked under the grandiose arch, the gateway to a life unknown, I barely felt the sunlight graze my shoulders. I could only discern the burning pain that ignited beneath my tender skin as I realized I would never return to the tranquil existence I knew.

* * *

I stood outside an unassuming two-story building in the midst of an industrial wasteland, pondering life’s transience, fighting back tears. Shouts of laughter rang up the stairs, tearing into my ears like a clap of thunder, searing into my flesh like an iron-hot brand. Tendrils of smoke wafted through the air, emanating from a ragtag enclave, a conglomerate of trauma, strife, and release that I yearned to hold in my heart forever. But all I could hear were the whispers of my own destitution, the stark reminders that I could never belong. Concern. Concerned. I’m concerned about you. I stood on the fringes of the fringes, refusing to cave to the daunting weight of the burning sunlight, the raucous laughter, the harsh array of fallen blossoms in my hair. Terrified and downtrodden, I walked away from my unconventional safe harbor into a painfully unknown future.

* * *

I sat atop a slightly worn beige couch, shaking and stuttering, yearning for freedom from the ties that bound me. The air was silent, full of words unspoken and stories unwritten, looming with anticipation, brimming with glimmers of hope. My wide, frightened eyes nearly spilled over with salty teardrops as I ruminated over all I left behind to sit here, poised but terrified, unprepared to confront my deepest agonies. Heal. Healing. I just want healing. I gazed at the blooming houseplants and worn bookshelves, wondering if I would ever find a home in this strange new world of fear and hope. Frightened and uncertain, I walked across the hardwood into the den, knowing that one day I would have to walk away, praying that I would leave with an open heart.

* * *

I closed the door behind me, gripping a worn suitcase with fear in my soul and hope in my heart, smiling to no one but the wind. For the first time, I walked away brimming with the joy of possibilities undiscovered, grateful for the pain, the places I had left behind, the moments I walked away and never looked back. I was exhausted, I was wounded, but I was here, slowly rediscovering my humanity with every step forward. TC mark

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About the author
Lives for red lipstick, high heels, 80's pop, cats, and Oxford commas. Follow Kelly on Instagram or read more articles from Kelly on Thought Catalog.

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