If I Stay

Photo by Joel Vodell on Unsplash

I’ve been riding around, listening to the sound of silence for awhile now. Radio off because I don’t celebrate Christmas; aux cord unplugged because the idea of my phone dying is a prospect entirely too stressful for me to handle right now. Sometimes I put my phone on do not disturb, even though I know there’s no one about to disturb me. I have a habit of leaving my phone in the car so as not to be distracted by the lack of notifications. Even in the city in the dead of winter, the birds chirp more often than my phone does. I don’t want to think about it. I wish I didn’t have to.

It’s not that I want to feel angry, it’s that I want to feel something — and maybe it’s the still, still quiet punctuated by drops of rain, the way the velvet blanket of silence smothers me, the way ghosts scream so loud that the sound of their silence roars like the blood in my ears, that sends me running back to you. All I want are arms to run into.

It’s funny that I talk that way because in my head, I know I’ve always had arms to run into: those of Him who knew me before I knew myself. In my heart, though, I know what I mean when I say what I say. The ghost of me craves tangible things. Sometimes, she’s more than a ghost.

But how do you love when you haven’t seen it? How do you know it’s love if you haven’t felt it? What do you do when all the people who were supposed to love you, for one reason or another, didn’t? What is love when vows that are supposed to be held sacred are grossly violated? I say I want to be loved, but I don’t even know if I know what that means.

I know what it is to care, and I do, know what to say and how to say it, know what to do and who to be, but underneath it all, I don’t know what is learned and what is innately me. And to love it to trust, and I know I didn’t trust you. Not exactly because you gave me a reason not to but because I don’t have concrete evidence that you’re any different from everybody else. I love science. Data. Facts. I don’t want you to tell me, I want you to show me, to prove it to me, but I don’t even know what kind of proof I’d need to take that leap of faith. Faith is the conviction of things not seen, but I see you and even then, I need to know. But that’s not how love works — and that’s why we didn’t, either.

That’s not to say we didn’t try, though: me to be anything but a person oscillating between “crazy” and “crazier”, and you to be superman and if you could help it, save me from myself. I know it’s hard to love a woman whose greatest fear is that of being left alone when you have children to raise and children’s parents to pacify. I know when we were together, I couldn’t see that. I just wanted to be held, but I didn’t know that holding onto me hurt. I couldn’t see my brokenness until I fell apart, only to realize that there was really nothing holding me together aside from the webs that I’d spun, stronger than steel, perhaps, but soluble in saltwater, washed away by tears like sandcastles in the sea. Some people like to create mosaics out of broken glass, and you tried. I saw the way you tried to imagine who I could be when I was whole again.

It’s a dangerous game, though, loving a project, and if anyone knew that, it was you. In the “I hate you,” in the “Don’t leave me,” you knew. In the “I love you,” in the calls going straight to voicemail, you knew. Iterations of “If I stay,” punctuated by “I have to go,” knowing if we didn’t say “Later” today then we couldn’t say “See you tomorrow.” In and out and in and out and in and out like the tides, slowly, slowly eroding me, smoothing out my rough edges but at the same time, diminishing what was left of me until it was hard to differentiate me from the sand. Sand can be melted into glass, but that’s God’s work, and you knew. That I’d have to be made new without you.

I know that I shouldn’t, but I want to hear you say you miss me one more time. The cycles are more familiar, if not easier, than the ever-changing landscape that comes with being me, myself and I. If I learn to be alone, though, I know that I’ll finally be home. Seems it’s not an “if,” anymore, I have to. God is greater than even the pendulum bob swinging between crazy and crazier. I’d rather run back into your arms than into the flames but as the refiner, He is the only one who can turn a million little pieces into something beautiful. Even though the truth swims upstream in the river of everything I’ve ever known, He is the truth. I have to go home.




Divorced, biracial woman in my early 20’s | Editor for Out of the Woods | I write to heal myself and others | Support me at https://ko-fi.com/aashaanna ❤

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Divorced, biracial woman in my early 20’s | Editor for Out of the Woods | I write to heal myself and others | Support me at https://ko-fi.com/aashaanna

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