I left you at the Amtrak Station—again.
Relephant: Is there a Morning After Pill for This?
The sky was light and open as I waved goodbye and made the left turn onto St. Paul Avenue. There were no birds this time. The station was still and my breath was steady.
I didn’t pound the steering wheel; the anger is gone. There was no high drama. I didn’t need a soundtrack to underscore my experience of this moment.
I ached for you before you even closed the door. The pain is still with me. The pull runs deep, from behind my heart down into my pelvis. I had prayed the pain of watching you turn and walk away would leave me, but it hasn’t.
I am grateful I feel. You are inside of me, in all the places where fear used to live. I am filled with love and I am not afraid anymore.
I am thankful for the train, for the slowness.
I breathe into our separation as the train carries you away from me, cutting through the landscape toward the mountains once again. From the train you shared a quote.
“Forgiveness is giving up all hope for a better past.”
You attributed it to Michael Crichton. I think it might be Lily Tomlin. I have often felt like a small girl in a big chair.
I have struggled with the concept of forgiveness; for years I have let the various definitions rattle around against my bones. I gave up on forgiveness, once, as something I no longer needed to be troubled by. If I left the past behind me I didn’t need to forgive anything. I ran and I ran, in a big circle—right back into myself.
I needed to forgive myself.
As a young girl, I copied this poem in my first journal. Last September I burnt all my writing from the early years. I didn’t relate to the author anymore. I wanted to be rid of the burden of my story. I was ready to let go—to live.
Well, I have lost you; and I lost you fairly;
In my own way, and with my full consent.
Say what you will, kings in a tumbrel rarely
Went to their deaths more proud than this one went.
Some nights of apprehension and hot weeping
I will confess; but that’s permitted me;
Day dried my eyes; I was not one for keeping
Rubbed in a cage a wing that would be free.
If I had loved you less or played you slyly
I might have held you for a summer more,
But at the cost of words I value highly,
And no such summer as the one before.
Should I outlive this anguish—and men do—
I shall have only good to say of you.
~ Edna St. Vincent Millay
By loving you I have forgiven myself for failing at marriage.
I opened up to love again. You stepped in.
This time my heart will not be broken, but not because it is hidden away or guarded, and not because our paths will never part (our paths will move like train tracks across the countryside). I will not be broken because my love is not dependent on you or your actions.
As a girl
I clung to others
Felt my heart break
Longed for summers past
Screamed silently at the injustice of loss
As I woman
I stand in awe
Love without breaking
Release the past
Sing in gratitude to be love in the first place
I will never lose you. You are not mine to keep.
I promise to be entirely dedicated to living in the present, to participate in the unfolding or our promising future. Each time I return to the train station I will be filled with love. Sometimes you will arrive and sometimes I will depart, and each time we come together we will make more love.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Bryonie Wise
Photo: Jennifer Moore