A Tale of Two


A friend recently described how she survived the breakup of a long-term relationship.  For her, it triggered a vicious battle for sheer survival,  so covertly did it undermine and erode her sense of self and self-direction and so completely did she destruct.

She spent a lot of time in the bathroom, collecting herself, after bursting out crying at the most inopportune and inauspicious occasions. She avoided friends who would surely point out her puffy eyes as readily as they complained about the coastal weather, but her self-imposed exile only left her desperately lonely and longing for understanding and appreciation. It was all she could do to drag herself from minute to minute, never mind to the next day.

But what struck me most was how physical the breakup was to her; her stomach and chest ached continually and her only relief was to release these horrible sounds of despair; long, loud howls clawed from her insides and wrenched out of her throat for so many days and nights. And she learned that yes, it likely is possible to die of a broken heart but somehow she managed not to.

And then slowly, she began to collect those bits of her that had shattered and scattered. Her hopes and dreams for the future, her understanding of relationships, her belief in things higher and mightier, her self image and her routines. She ruthlessly picked up each fragment and spent time with it, considered its worthiness, and threw what she couldn’t bear to carry along any more.  As the discard heap grew, she felt more frail, wondered what was left of her.  Still, blind instinct propelled her on.  She cut her long hair and culled a couple of friends and started drinking beer. She went went on cleaning frenzies at two or three am. One day she threw out as pair of his old jeans she’d been hanging on to and suddenly realized that he had a mean and passive-aggressive streak. It was after this that she stopped crying.

Months later, when she dared to ask him how it had been for him, this freight-train collision of relationship disintegration, he said only that it had been sweet relief.

he once called her his angel

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This entry was posted in Agony and Ecstacy, Relationships and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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