“what are your dreams for your thirties?”
i know she’s talking to me but it hits me with the force of a summer pool immersion. how can she drop such an earth-shattering sentence in the middle of yoga? i glance at our bird to my right, buying time.
“me or liliya?”
my thoughts scramble as liliya laughs and says something about how she has two years left how can she think about that yet?
“i’ve known what my goal for thirty was since i was 27.” i say, trying to stop the words bc i can’t—don’t want —to explain them. now both friends are looking at me expectantly and i.... am empty. my mind is a mess bc feelings. all these emotions of pain & regret & the deep excruciating ache of loss swirls up to my throat. the familiar suffocation of T I M E slowly covers my heart.
i have several flashes of realization at the same time:
these girls love me.
i have to face this grief.
i can’t run from it anyway.
none of the trite excuses for life goals coming to mind will be convincing.
speak. the truth.
i cant see any other way out.
“i wanted to be through counseling, and healthy. whole.” the last word slips out as a whisper. i duck my head and pretend to stretch. playing it off as if i wanted to surf better or learn watercolors. i hope they don’t know i have tears hovering behind my pupils, bc one hug or kindness and i will spill over. i don’t want the pacific swells of this never-ending heartache swallowing and drowning any other hearts but mine. i don’t want to explain. how so tired / no, fucking exhausted / i am of the attention trauma gets. it’s bullshit, that i’ve been working through it in stages for the past FOUR YEARS. before that, i was living it more than i wasn't. i just wanted it gone, i wanted a new focus, a new chapter. i linger on the thought that i can just act that way...but i’ve learned the hard way that you can’t just decide you’ve moved on. every new page you try to turn sticks to the last; the wet ink of abuse survivor seeps through to stain them all before you can write your new self upon them.
i swallow all this deep in my throat.
“anyway, i’ll find new goals. what are yours?”
the conversation turns. i bury the rage & chasm of my heart, stepping back into the familiar mind space. but deep down i know there isn’t any escaping. why would i hope? wtf did i let myself believe things could change? that i could move on? ever have a life that isn’t constantly being dragged back to face this ugliness? i foolishly hung a lightbulb in my heart, and with one question i watched it hit the cement of reality. i’ll have to find all those pieces.