“It’s not what I asked for/sometimes life just slips in through a back door/and carves out a person who makes you believe it’s all true.”

~ Sara Bareilles “She Used to Be Mine”

It was my first time having a phone conversation with him since our meeting almost a week prior. I had suffered countless, uninspiring how-you-doing-lady texts. Finally, he called (brave soul in 2017!).

Our conversation went the way of ocean floors: wading…wading…and suddenly, under. He asked about my heart, and I shared openly, perhaps foolishly, deciding not to disown myself in the moment.

He replied with gusto:

“He may love you as a person, but he isn’t in love with you. THAT’S for sure. You’re hurting yourself.”

I let the words land, one by one. I knew this first conversation would also be the last, but the moment earned the right to be filled with the words he’d chosen — as well as the ones I couldn’t bring myself to speak.

There was no use denying something that could very well be true. And so, for once, I let it be. And in those moments, even as I felt unexpectedly and irreverently stripped in front of a room of hecklers, I triumphed in my courage to feel.

I waited until my breath returned…waited to feel the tears behind my closed eyelids. I dropped my arms to my side, and accepted the moment. He meant the words to hurt, and they did. Stung, rather. I let the sting linger without looking for a salve. I just felt.

Then, I spoke:

“You may be right. Anyways, I love him, and this won’t work. Good night.”

My finger touched the screen to end the call just as hot tears cascaded down my cheeks, and my lips parted into a smile, blowing spit with the timely release of the breath I’d been holding.

Being stung is nothing to be ashamed of.


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