The phrase had been blinking in my head all day like a neon sign. I saw it as I woke, it kept flashing as I wrote.
I think, I think, that you carry heartbreak until it carries you.
Don’t get me wrong. I worked on my book today as promised–1300 words, thank you very much. B even says they pass muster. Then I had therapy–can we say it simply ran its course? But when I came up for air, I felt sad knowing the Legend was back in the neighborhood and we no longer were in contact. Until this week we could just pretend we were just in different places, on different schedules.
Not different frequencies.
Just as I was starting to feel really rudderless, K pinged for coffee, so we met up and ran into a friend and then another and another, and the conversation kept bobbing along, one thread into another like that last luxuriant day of school in Dazed and Confused.
K is a legend in his own right.
Only when we hit Crest Hardware–manager Chris is helping me recuperate my horrid new floor–did the ground really fall out beneath me. For there, a quarter of a block ahead of us, rolled the Legend with some big blowsy blonde who most definitely was not me.
So you know, I’m never been a stoic in such moments. When I’m sad, I’m sad, and being in public doesn’t remotely mean I’ll hold it together. K had to buy me tacos like I was a wailing kid at the fair, and then we had to walk miles and miles by the river, me still wailing and also now whining because I insist on wearing platforms in the aftermath of relationships since they make me feel strong and powerful and, alas, now also blistered. And I had to feel those feelings, those inconvenient what-ifs, I-should-haves, he-just-didn’ts, fuck-my-feet feelings while poor K rubbed my shoulders and reminded me I had things to write and say so couldn’t afford to malinger in such draining ambiguity. And then there was the overarching awfulness of it, the meta-ness of it, because breakups feel so unbecoming at 47, so frightening, really, because you just don’t know what’s next (do you ever?) and you’ve already seen this bottom so many times that it’s hard to believe there’s sunshine at the top. Eventually, eventually, I felt okay enough to walk back home, talking to B, talking also to me.
I had a second line for the neon sign now, could see it clear as day.
I think, I think, that you carry heartbreak until it carries you. And then finally–finally!–you can climb off that ride.
My leftover pork and brussels sprouts are quite nice, Mrs. Lincoln.