There’s a quote that’s been circling the internet; “Someday someone is going to hold you so tight that all of your broken pieces will stick back together”
It’s clearly intended to be thought of as a reminder to hold out for that soulmate coming down the pipes to fix everything simply by existing. (Pardon the cynicism)
When I first took it, I saw the romantic context and ignored it. I thought of my brother whose answer to anything is to hug me until my shoulder blades merge or to act as a breathing heating pad and flop on top of me. I thought of my roommate who has warm meals waiting for me on the bad days, and whisky for the worse ones. I think of how grateful I am for the people determined to not let me actually break into pieces.
I hit a spot of continual bad luck and not-so-good people recently. I’m in a town far away from my support group and the strain causes the cracks to break. Like any healthy, well-functioning adult, I continue to pick at my scars. I have the good days and I have the bad days. Even on the good days I feel the lead weight in my chest and the sharpness of the broken edges.
You start waiting for the person to help put you back together.
I certainly wasn’t expecting who it would be.
Then he calls out of the blue. A former roommate from an internship years ago. Two years since the last contact I had with him. We catch up. He lives on the west coast now, but he’s traveling. He’s going to be in town, am I able to see him?
We meet for drinks that turn into dinner. I’d forgotten how he cuts through my defenses. How he calls me out on my bullshit and notices when I distract from questions I don’t want to answer, or have an answer to. He asks the difficult questions. He demands answers. He interprets my answers and recites them back to me, simplified. I spend hours untangling the knots in my mind. He cuts through them in seconds.
He tells me what he knows about me, that he doesn’t think I’m aware of yet, or ready to embrace yet. From a few months as roommates and friends, he lays out a bold judge of my desires, progression, and what’s holding me back. And infuriatingly, he’s right.
He tells me about his life. His travels and where he’s currently settled, for now. He’s in an incredible open relationship, the kind that makes you believe in love and people being in love and the simple ways to make things work. Things are never as complicated as we want to make them. It’s beautiful how devoted he is to her, how in love they are, and how they are in constant, completely honest communication. It’s refreshing. It’s hopeful. It’s also startling when I’m informed that she fully expects him to spend the night with me.
Which is the short version of how I woke up this morning tangled in my sheets with another person. And you remember that there is a difference between feeling desired and feeling valued.
While I won’t see him in another several years, while I am likely to not hear from him for another year at least, the man next to me is someone who both desires and values me, who respects me and pushes my boundaries and tries to get me to push them for myself.
He makes me think about the next steps. I know I’m sitting at a crossroads now, he made sure I saw the other paths to take, or make on my own.
In the moments before I acknowledge my consciousness, I notice that for the first time in long time, the edges feel not so sharp. The familiar pain and weight in my chest feels warmer, softer. A balm has been laid on my beaten heart, the bruises are fading, the scabs to scars. It’s a road yet ahead, but the pieces have remembered how to fit back together.
You find the help and the inspiration in the places you don’t expect, in the people you don’t expect. They arrive and they shake things up, help you stand up, and let you alone to try to find your own balance again.
I’m a cynic who believes in fate and fairy tales, not of the garden variety. And I believe in gratitude, for I am lucky in the people that I manage to find who pull me out of the deep end when I need it.
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