You have, at some point in your growing life, been a strong advocate of feeling; that is, feeling everything—the hurt and grief, until you can feel no more, until the memories stop tasting like rust, until you heal. But these days, you find yourself doing all things possible to numb the feelings and suppress your thoughts, and just move on as though life is a little perfect thing and you are its reflection. At least, there is that saying, “feel it until you become it”, right?
So you have been telling yourself “I am fine”, and you have been feeling like it. You have been smiling a lot more, and you are now gradually crawling back out of your hide-hole to embrace the world. You have been going on dates again, laughing terribly at good jokes to intimidate the sadness lurking in your soul. You have started catching up with friends again, you are having lots of healthy sex and working out, you are reading more books, you are listening to music and dancing a lot, and you are forgetting—have forgotten how to feel too, because sometimes, like now, the only way out of your rot is to remember to forget, or forget to remember.
Maybe this time the hurt is different.
Maybe the memories are too bland.
Or maybe they are raw. unfinished.
Maybe they are too unmade to be saved.
Maybe whatever, but you are fine.
You are reading Haruki’s Kafka on the Shore. And you are listening to the music playing on shuffle from the new music app you got on your Smartphone. There is tea and pancakes. And there is a smile playing on your lips; no matter that you don’t remember how it got there or why. Your life is a busy place. Your mind, a timeless machine whose function, now, is to keep you thoughtfully un-thinking and sane enough to not do anything stupid.
You take me higher
Higher than I’ve ever been babe
Just come over let’s pour a drink babe
I hope I ain’t calling you too late
You listen to Rihanna sing Higher. For the first time. You hear how her voice stretches unhinged, and so thin that it almost breaks. You close your eyes, and let the almost-gothic-revelation in her voice, the plea in her melody—you let it sweep your soul into a mystic dance.
You’re like my fire
Let’s stay up late and smoke a jay
I wanna go back to the old way
But I’m drunk instead with a full ash tray
With a little bit too much to say
It finds you. Her voice finds you and breaks you.
Your mind forgets to remember, and remembers to forget, to keep you from being stupid. So you break down and cry. And that might have been the stupidiest thing ever, if you had not picked your phone to send that text message to that phone number (that you deleted severally from your phone, and blocked half as many times, and tried fruitlessly to erase from your memory) that read: “I am sorry. I miss you.” His reply is quick: “No, thanks. Fuck you!”
You don’t blame him. You shouldn’t have.
Because you are not sorry. You are only guilt-ridden.
Because you don’t miss him. You don’t deserve to.
Oh, he loved you, but you left.
He pleaded with you. He begged you to stay. But you left.
You had found someone else, who didn’t deserve you. You needed him. He wanted you. And the problem with ‘wanting’ is that man’s emotions are forever fleeting; and the problem with ‘needing’ is that you always need what you need, or else, you cannot function for a long time. And a long time is a really long time.
Bryan needed you. You needed Alex. Alex wanted you.
So Alex toyed with your emotions, and left you with a swollen belly and a shattering heart (because, now, your heart breaks a little more every day) once he had had his fill— and you wouldn’t have left him if he had not wanted out. But he left. And now you understand what Bryan felt. And you understand the difference between being wanted and being needed. You want to be needed again.
So no, you are not really sorry, and you do not miss him. You are sorry you needed the wrong person, and you miss the way that he needed you.
Hey there, it’s been a second! Have you listened to Rihanna’s “Higher”? How did you feel about it?
© The Short Black Girl, 2017.