The sky is a cloudless blue, the birds are chirping happily, mocking me, the breeze is warm for this time of year, and this part of the world. I’m lying on the grass, staring up at a never ending vastness, feeling the sun kiss my skin in a way it hasn’t for such a long time, and I’m aware that this is heaven. But I don’t feel like I’m in heaven. I feel like I’m in hell.
Last night he broke me.
And not in the way that I wanted to be broken; not in the way that in years to come, I will ask to be broken.
He broke something entirely different. Shattered it. Took it, fragile as it was, and crushed it in his bare hands right in front of me. And he doesn’t even realise it yet, because he hasn’t come home.
He put his hand around my throat; 10 years from now, when a man puts his hand around my throat, it will be on my terms. Not this time. But that didn’t break me.
He spat vicious words in my face. Words that were so vile they dripped like acid on every kind, loving word he had ever uttered before. But that didn’t break me.
Fuelled by the vodka, he vomited, pissed, stumbled, and smashed his way around my tiny flat, the only place I could call home so far away from my friends and family. But that didn’t break me.
He looked at me, with so much contempt, so much hate. There was no love in his eyes; eyes I had gazed into for years, eyes that laughed when he smiled. There was no familiar voice in his eyes that reassured me this wasn’t real, this wasn’t him, this wasn’t a game. These were different eyes. These were filled with blackness and anger.
That’s what broke me.
I loved the way he looked at me; like I was beautiful, special, his…
That look…the one that was cold and new, the one I didn’t recognise, the one that frightened me, was one I would never forget. And that lasting image would burn so vividly in my mind that every time I looked at him in the days, weeks, months, that followed, it would be all I could see.
That look broke me.
Destroyed the very part of me that those same eyes had helped to create.
It would be a lie to say that this one event, this one evening, was the reason we fell apart. In truth, my world had been crumbling for quite some time, I just couldn’t see it…didn’t want to. But years from now, when I look back at what went so horribly wrong, this one night would stay with me. It would be the linchpin. The catalyst.
It was a slow death, my love for him. Excruciatingly painful and one that I fought tooth and nail until I couldn’t fight it any more. When I finally left, I was exhausted…broken.
The funny thing about being broken, shattered into a million pieces, is that the only direction you can go is towards repair. We are all fighters at heart, all capable of strength, and our will to survive is primitive and primal. Even doing nothing, letting time slip away, our soul fights to repair the smallest of the breaks. There is nothing we can do about that, even if we long to stay in pieces.
Even at our lowest, time keeps moving us forward, and from the bottom, there is only up.
I was lying on the grass, staring up at the bluest of blue skies. Time didn’t care that I was forever changed, and from where I was, I could only stand up and keep going.
“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars…” – Oscar Wilde