Hard Truths, Chapter 4.4:
Some Breaks Never Completely Heal

This is the FOURTH year I’ve committed to writing a blog a day for my entire birthday month. This year, I even screwed up naming the series, calling it a 3-dot-blank series (it’s really 4-dot-blank, duh). If you’re willing to forgive the synapses in my brain misfiring, you can check out all the posts in the series from this year (2017) here2016 right here. Oh, hey — look! It’s 2015 here. And if you really want to dig, click here for 2014 — where I was essentially a fetus with a keyboard. 

7:18pm.

That’s what the clock said. It was exactly the wrong time. 48 minutes worth of wrong.

Clark Kent had gone off to his weekly meeting with a refugee he tutors, helping him learn English as he finds his footing in a city so far from his home in Myanmar. Clark Kent walks both ways – 30 minute there. 30 minutes back. I offer him the car. He never takes it. The man hates driving.

But he left at 4:30pm last night. Which meant his session was at 5pm and done by 6pm and back by 6:30pm.

It was 7:18pm and he wasn’t here.

So, at 7:30pm, unable to wait anymore, I texted him:

Hi Man. Can you let me know you’re okay?

Nothing. Nothing at all. No response. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Not a goddamned thing and I can’t help but I’m starting to shake.

Another text:

I’m worried. I was expecting you home an hour ago.

LESS THAN NO RESPONSE. I’m 0 for 2 and I’m trying to load the dishwasher and all I can think is how do I call the police? How do I find out if he got hit by a car? What do I do if he got hit by a car? Jesus Christ, I can’t do this again – I cannot cannot cannot do this again live through this again I cannot AGAIN lose the man I love because the universe decided to be a giant cockgobbling asshole and rip love from my hands.

The only thing I can hear in the entire apartment is my heart pounding out of my chest. I can’t breathe and it’s for damn sure that a panic attack is coming on and I’m going to be on the kitchen floor in a heap in roughly T-minus.

Because of anything I fear, this is the mother. The father. The Supreme Fucker of Fear.

Not just losing love. But losing it again.

It’s nearly impossible to believe that it’s been seven years since this world lost Jason. Seven. You don’t get over that kind of loss. You just either choose to go through it or go around it. And being the I-can-do-it-myself proud AF idiot I am, I went around it for two whole years.

It nearly cost me my life. I’ve been working through it ever since — at times, more successfully than others.

And I will tell you that I cannot do that again.

So when I heard the key turn in the lock at the front door last night at 7:41pm and Clark Kent swept inside with a bag of groceries, I let him have it.

I WAS EXPECTING YOU HOME OVER AN HOUR AGO.

I said I was going to stop for —

I KNOW. BUT I EXPECTED YOU AN HOUR AGO AND TEXTED YOU TWICE.

I left the session a bit later than I — I heard the text. I just couldn’t —

YOU CANNOT DO THAT TO ME. YOU CANNOT BE OVER AN HOUR LATE GETTING HOME AND NOT TELL ME YOU ARE OKAY.

But I heard it. It was…six minutes ago. I was going to be right home and –

YOU’VE GOTTA LET ME KNOW YOU’RE ON YOUR WAY. I WAS WORRIED. LOOK AT ME.

And I stand there stuttering, shaking, surrounded by a fridge from 1974 and a box of half-eaten pizza. The sentences above shot out in fragments like tickets from a skeeball machine in hell. Tears in my eyes.

Because the man I love unintentionally hit me where it hurts the most: the scarred piece of my heart that’s still growing back seven years later 

I’m sorry. You’re right. I’ll text and let you know I’m on my way.

And he hugs me tight in one of his hugs that I never want to be without and I cried into his parka, realizing that I don’t have to remember how HE feels because he’s right here.

***

Sometimes the people we think of as strongest have a tiny place in their hearts that’s a healing work in progress. Tender and raw, perhaps less so as each set of days or months or moments passes. But it’ll never heal completely. Ever.

This is mine. Probably always will be. It no longer rules me or destroys me, but it’s a part of my Why and Who. It’s a When and What. It’s a poem permanently inked on my back and words inscribed on my inner arms. It’s the reason I love the way I do, what I do, and who I do.

And there are blissful days that I forget that I’m broken like this – that there’s a fault line in my soul.

But I trust him. Clark Kent. I trust him to take my hand and walk me along the scarred edges of my heart and hold me back from falling over.

Because he knows how and why I’m broken in the ways I am.

And he loves me still. Because of. Despite. With.

OR

On my birthday, December 10, I’m announcing a shift in how I share my art. Facebook has become pay-to-play and artists should never have to pay to reach the audience they’ve already built. If you would, do a gal a favor — mark your calendars and open the email I’ll send you this coming Sunday. Hell, you can even open it on Monday. And here’s my promise to you: this blog isn’t going anywhere. But the best part is, I’m taking back my art from Facebook (who gets to profit off my ideas and IP) and YOU, my lovely readers, are going to help.

Love it? Get more (digital) Erika.

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