January 10, 2014

Hope is the Hardest Love We Carry. ~ Jenine Durland

Before you walk him to the door and close it behind, turn on the kettle.

Offer him coffee and when he says he brought his own, in a mason jar in your fridge, retrieve it and put it on the table.

Add to it the empty, clean jar you borrowed from his house yesterday for your morning chai, the Peet’s roast from your tea drawer because you don’t drink coffee anyway.

Tell him, with a small laugh, that you’re keeping his Tupperware.

After he’s held you close, apologized for letting you down, after you’ve cried into his chest and given a poem and your favorite book, after you’ve dragged the futon from the fireplace and wadded up the bedding, after your dog has calmed from trying to lick his face the entire time he dressed, putting on shoes and the socks you handed him…after this man leaves your home and you’re left standing in only a t-shirt in the kitchen, tend to your tea.

Pull a bag of English Breakfast tea from the drawer. Rinse your mug, pour the water, steaming, and add 3 drops of Stevia, then the milk. Take your multivitamin. Put on underwear and your cashmere drawstring pants.

When your dog starts whining only a couple sips in, say okay, and get the leash. Leave the mug on the windowsill.

You are wired anyway.

Walk up the hill and stop where she stops. Hitch up your pants when they start to drag. Head into the woods, down the trail through the arching live oaks silhouetted against morning sun.

Stop at the redwood grove. Send om’s in all four directions, with an extra to the East, land of new beginnings.

Don’t call anyone when you come home.

Instead, clear your kitchen table of the two martini glasses and the fresh mint. Wipe it down. Make a thermos of chai, heating your milk and adding a cinnamon stick.

Sit down, open your journal, write.

Talk about the number of times you could’ve stopped, kept your mouth shut, let him hold you and continue stroking you by the firelight.

How quickly your belly turned to steel when he answered your questions.

When your mom calls an hour in, answer. Sob just once, then speak. Describe the perfect date as it was–perfect–except for how few questions he asked, how little he seemed to really want to know.

Tell her to hold on when she interrupts, her tone saying you’re being irrational.

Breathe when you get to the part where he tells you he had sex with someone else after that amazing reunion at the River, and that he enjoyed it. Appreciate her anger when you tell her he still spent the night.

Be gentle with yourself—know that:

Hope is the hardest love we carry.

~ Jane Hirshfield

Walk with your step-sister who you so rarely see. Talk about how easy it is to accept so little when your dads were never there.

Believe her when she says the right one’s out there.

Go eat cheesy, guacamole-smothered quesadillas and buy yourself a pair of Sex and the City sequined Manolo Blahnik heels half a size too small because they’re so damn beautiful and crazy on sale.

Take yourself to a new yoga studio, smile with the gorgeous man who practices next to you, who keeps talking even after the teacher has started, who remembers your name when he says goodbye.

Imagine what that might be like.

Trust you will see him again. Drive back blasting Hindu devotional chants, singing loud as you follow the full moon.

Once home, open the good wine, call your godmother, tell her the whole story.

Accept her love when she says she’s proud of you, that she is so moved by how kind and generous and wise you are being in this break up.

Tell her the words your new yoga teacher shared while you twisted your arms around in front of your chest and tried to breathe while tilting your chin back.

He quoted Mary Oliver: “Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift.”

Love elephant and want to go steady?

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Assistant Editor: Jes Wright/Editor: Bryonie Wise

Photo Credit: Novra Ayamo/Pixoto


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