It hurt to think of her, memory still bloated and raw with pain . . . regret.
It was like a death, our breakup.
I attempted to soften it with the label: “a parting of ways.” But that did nothing. It was a tear in my heart so raking, my throat clogged up, and my whole being cast itself into a gray cocoon of longing for it to be any way other than what it was.
I was the first to pull away, wanting space from the enmeshment we’d become, always being drilled with questions, her knowing all, me fully inserted in everything of hers. She rubbed it in my face (she had a cool friend now that she went to drum circles with, who’d “inspired” her to grow a tower garden). She was getting me back for making distance. Then she daggered me with a few well-calculated energetic blows, her words honeyed and motherly so no one was the wiser. But I knew, she was angling on high, making sure I knew my place below her, the all-seeing intuitive, light years beyond me, the baby. This conversation flung me into full-blown sickness. A rushing release of energy cracked my head open, and I expelled toxins out both ends, rejecting her treatment. She had crossed the line, but oh, she was so slick, so smart, so manipulative. To anyone on the outside, her strike was like a sprinkling of sugar, the sweetest hint of nothing. I could never call her on it.
Things had soured in her favor and now she was pulling away, withholding. She forgot my birthday. I began to unravel. What I’d wanted to be different, more space, a dynamic shift, I didn’t anymore — the prospect of any change seeded internal panic. Our relationship was broken, dysfunctional and unsatisfying, but familiar. The devil you know.
I need her. I can’t let her go.
It was a last-ditch. I left her a message, poorly disguised as well-meaning, “good lookin’ out” feedback from a true friend, when my words were meant to jab, cut and punish. They did.
20 days of crushing silence followed.
I knew it was over, so I wrote the letter.
True to form, her audio text came through before it arrived. She always secured the upper hand.
I swallowed my itching desire to meet every point with a well-crafted retort, and wished her the best.
“I won’t be calling you. This is the last you’ll hear from me. There’s a letter in the mail . . . I wish the best for you, always. I really do.”
Can I live without you? I don’t think so, but I must. It’s the only way . . . to grow into my bigger self.
In the aftermath, there were days I hated her. She won. She never let her manipulation be seen by outsiders. I was unequivocally IDed the wrongdoer by anyone who heard her side. I’d let myself slip. Lost control. Spat venom from the wound. But friends popped up for me, too, out of the gaping hole where she no longer resided, to console, support and agree, if only to make me feel better. I aired our undoing to anyone who’d hear it, admitting my failings to endear them to me, describing her “way” so they could understand, they could know, beyond a doubt, she did me dirty.
I did the right thing, even if in the wrong way. I’m a good person. She’s the monster.
At the beginning, a day couldn’t pass without thinking of her. I journaled and tapped, raged and cried — attempting to extract her from my cells. She still had a claw branched around my heart, cutting off the flow, controlling every trickle and pump of inner dialogue. Everything circled back to the power she had over me. Gently pounding my temples and talking out knots of blame and hurt, saying the nastiest of nasty out loud, quelled the mental tornado writhing inside, but my resentment felt bottomless. My foundation swept from under me. The loneliness, the needing, swallowing me whole.
I looked up through the agony and, suddenly, weeks had passed. I would have a full day speckled in the misery, where she didn’t come to mind at all. I was suffused with relief, subtle joy rising . . . myself again. My confidence flared, I was energized and hopeful. Then, guilt. I felt wrong for feeling good so soon, because this was BIG, she was everything, and how dare I move on? I’d said those terrible things . . .
You can forgive yourself. Loving from afar is still loving.
It was like a death, our ending.
I didn’t know what existed beyond it. Annihilation? Rebirth? A part of her lived inside my body, fused with my soul, coiled around every experience as if none were real, before her. I’d pluck a book off the shelf and reach for the phone to text her, like old times, an easy laugh . . . but she was gone. That thing we shared, the sound-boarding magic, the presence of an unwavering sidekick, utmost confidante, shoulder to endlessly whine on . . . dead. That no longer existed. We’d crossed over. It was trashed, only select memories archived — ones impossible to shake loose in this lifetime. We’d shared a bond, after all. Fast friends, quick soul mates, there for one another through the thickest of times, falling apart before the celebration.
“I had a dream last night,” she’d texted, “More like a vision…that you and me met up in some other city. We were at a fancy restaurant, and you’d gotten super big and popular after the book…you were paying ;) and we looked back on all we’d been through and laughed at how ridiculous it was…how far we’d come…how different our lives were now.”
If only she knew that’s what I’d always wanted.
But she missed her chance. I would never allow her in again. I couldn’t build a wall or keep parts of myself closed, not with her, like I effortlessly did with others. It left me vulnerable, and she couldn’t be trusted. She wouldn’t be invited to the party of my success, or get to whittle into me once my accolades far surpassed hers, knocking me down a notch, as she always, so gracefully, did. That vision was the best of us, delivered through the astral plane, just as real as if we lived it, so that we wouldn’t have to.
How would I go on, without her?
I am the phoenix, rising from the ashes. Life is in bloom, and I am reborn.