Posted by: shelliejelly | September 26, 2009

Dear K.

I sometimes sit and wonder about this life. How the first night I met you, we sat at the bar and talked and talked. I remember how you smiled at me as you tried to ask me if I was seeing anyone. I had to prod the question out of you; how could you have known my inexperience, my constant surprise, due to a seemingly nonexistent self-esteem, when anyone was interested in me.

Now, away on business looking out my hotel window, I wonder who will bear witness to my life. I look around at all the loss, how sometimes, when I allow myself, I can almost see love of all kinds slipping through my hands. First you, then O.

I am aware enough to know that these visions are dramatic; I am young enough to recover. Even calling it recovering seems indulgent, but that is how it feels—like I need to go back and repair whatever I didn’t fully heal after you died. And that journey seems so long I sometimes wonder if I’ll ever be able to find the path that will lead me back, give me access to the part of me that still screams in pain with the lightest touch.

I watch people holding hands, leaning in to tell each other something, laughing at something they share only between themselves. I miss having that connection with another human being; I miss not having someone know my private silliness, my deepest dreams. Giving someone else the roadmap to yourself is wonderful, watching as they find hidden routes you might not have even know existed.

You found in me a capacity I always assumed I was too awkward and unwilling to uncover: the ability to love another human being and to feel comfortable in my skin doing so. You coaxed me out of my shell and watched with glee as I opened my arms and welcomed you in. I don’t know that any other human being on this earth could have done what you did for me; I know, all these long, long years after your death, that I needed you.

But now as O. and I muddle through, up and down and up and down and up and down, I sometimes wonder if I’m back where I first started. Am I back in a place where I’ll be too frightened to reach out and grab at love? Too sure I’ll just make all of these mistakes over and over again? I don’t know the answer yet, and, on some days, I stop looking. Rolling this uncertainty around in my mind makes me equal parts hopeful and indifferent.

I want to believe I won’t step back into myself, but I also long for protection from this feeling of losing replaying in my heart, thumping away at my resilience.

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