Sometimes when you have finally loosened the knots of hatred and hurt just enough to wedge your chafed still beloved ankles and whimpering needing soul from their sneering clutch and grab, you have to run.
You have to grab your shit and run and not look back, all the while knowing you will look back, and often, you will waver and meander and collapse in a boneless shrieking pile on the remains of a resuscitated history that you cannot forget. You have to run while you collapse. And run while you weep. And run while you hate the you that goes back because it isn’t the you that has left.
You have to run. Until there is enough space and time and breath to move. Until you can sit with the pile of rubbled otherness that has hidden you for so long, you aren’t even sure you’re underneath it anymore.
And when you get there, you promise yourself:
No more lies.
No more not me.
No more might be me.
No more should be me.
Just me, listening.
Just me, learning.
Just me, caring.
Just me, remembering.
And you fight for this singleness, you fight for this onlyness. You bare teeth at sideways swipes and hopeful lunges; your shoulders are square even when you sleep, and you leave things and people and time and investment easily but not carelessly. You pick. Fighting, you choose.
And when you meet him in a bar, mid fight and shoulders squared, you are just you and he sees you and you already knew anyway and it’s done.
When he asks you to marry him, you say no.
You say you can’t make a choice like that so quickly, even though you already chose.
Because what you mean is that you will fight for the rest of your life; some ropes never unknot all the way and now that battle is a character trait.
What you mean is I love you and I need for you to either be in this fight with me, or wait while I fight it my own way, or fight it in your own way next to me.
What you mean is I need to be me with no lies.
What you mean is can you let me be me.
And he says yes.