22 January 2015

twelve step program

|| one || he pressed his lips to my knuckles and whispered i love you one last time; a sob escaped the prison of my ribs and i backed away until all that i could feel of him was his fingertips slipping away. i stumbled up the drive way and turned around to watch him drive away. he didn't look back. ||

|| two || i paced down the hallway, listening intently to my father's voice on the other end of the line, but i came up short when i looked through the window and saw him. i pulled back immediately, hiding around the corner, heart racing, and tried to regain my focus. i had half convinced myself that it wasn't him when i yanked the door open and the familiarity of his stance took my breath away. there was no doubt that it was him, but i willed myself not to pause, to simply stride past him without a glance. i assured my father that i was still listening, but all i could hear was my heart cracking. ||

|| three || before my parents had even checked into their hotel room, i was winding my way through slot machines and chain smokers searching for the exit. not out of excitement, not out of need to see the city- simply because my future roommate was waiting for me in a starbucks on 5th and i pride myself on punctuality. i flew down the street, legs pumping, chest heaving, hair streaming behind me, ignoring the late afternoon sun and the mid-august heat. things i would have appreciated- loved- at home didn't matter to me there. i told myself that he would be no different. ||

|| four || my hands trembled as i unlocked the door; it swung open easily and i clenched my jaw, stepping into the apartment- my apartment- with the kind of hesitation that would have made my freshly-graduated freedom-craving peers roll their eyes with scorn. that, and perhaps that my first impression of it was as a barren wasteland, told me that my new living situation might take some.. adjusting. at the end of the day, when the furniture we'd brought was set up and i was alone, i sat down in the still-empty living room and cried because i could see him everywhere and it wasn't fair that he could haunt me in a place he'd never even seen, and that he no longer had any reason to see. ||

|| five || the action of walking to band and the feeling of being lost was a combination i had never felt before, but college is certainly about new experiences. the moment i stepped into the university's band room, i felt out of place. i looked at the people milling about and searched desperately for the person who had made me feel at home even in the most nerve-wracking situations, though i knew he could only be found five hundred miles away. ||

|| six || after a month, i still hadn't settled into a routine. there were days i showered and did my makeup and ate breakfast and went to class; there were days where i got up and left the apartment, stopping only to make sure i hadn't forgotten my homework. most weekends found me in pajama pants and t-shirts on the futon my roommate had supplied for our living room. i had long stopped searching for his number in my messages, stopped checking his blog for signs that he missed me; so that day, when the +1 popped up on my inbox, i didn't expect much. my heart stopped at the sight of his username. i scanned his message. i read it backwards, then forwards again. i refreshed twice, three times. my hands shook as i shut my laptop. i lowered my legs to the floor, needing to feel grounded. i took a deep breath, stood up, showered. i had no plans for the day, but i got ready anyway. and then i typed out my message. i hit send and paced. hours later, his number lit up my phone. ||

|| seven || my stomach twisted painfully as soon as i read the words i still love you and i knew that i could never love north carolina again, not like henderson, not after henderson. i typed i love you too and hated myself for it. but the next day, the next two weeks, when he called me cutie pie and cupcake i felt an appreciation for sunshine that had been absent as long as he'd been. ||

|| eight || i always tried to give him what he wanted. this was no different. i left him alone. ||

|| nine || i'd been home for two weeks when he said he wanted to see me. as his street came into view, my heart clenched. as i put my car in park, my vision blurred. i blinked away tears and willed my fingers to stop twitching. taking my time gathering my purse and my phone and my keys, i breathed deeply, opened the door, and began the walk up to his front door. ||

|| ten || i couldn't remember the last time i'd been on a real date, a date where i felt like i should dress nice and was picked up and taken out. i couldn't tell if i was nervous because of that, or because it was him. and yet as soon as i spotted him making his way up my driveway, instinct took over and i slipped my hand into his. i think i might've slipped him my heart, too. he opened the car door for me and i reveled in the intimacy of recovering my spot in the passenger's seat. ||

|| eleven || only 60 hours later it was "over for good." i wondered if anything in the world could really be considered good. ||

|| twelve || when i figure this one out, i'll let you know. ||

Moving on is a twelve-step program, but sometimes you have to retrace your steps.

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