I know how it feels. I remember it. I remember laying awake all night, my cell phone beside the bed, poised for an alert, for the physiological reaction my body would give to that jolting metallic tone when it finally came.
It never came.
I remember laying there, the tears seeping from my eyes, steadily rolling towards my ears, the soft linen of my childhood pillow wet with hot tears of envy. My body uneasy and anxious, my stomach rolling, bile rising in my throat. I didn’t know where he was, but I knew what he was doing. I imagined everything.
Scene after scene rolled through my mind, faceless girls shaken out, only to be replaced immediately by newer, more beautiful versions. I tortured myself with my ruthless realism, not letting myself believe for even one moment what the kinder, gentler, perhaps more naïve part of my mind tried to tell me. I knew what kind of boy he was. It was not innocent. He did not care about me. He did not still love me. I knew this, as harsh as black and white. I think I also knew, deep down somewhere, that he wasn’t worth it, that I deserved more. But that night I began to doubt it.
That night, my once happy, inviting room became bleaker than any landscape. The yellow circle of light from my lamp became the one palm tree on my desert island, and my cell phone the only portal out. My very soul was crushed, depleted. I had been rejected. Every insecurity about myself, every embarrassment, every flaw came rushing back, jostling for my attention. That night was worse than any other. I felt as though I could never again be happy. I couldn’t imagine life past this heartache, couldn’t fathom that there were laughing, smiling people somewhere. All I could see was the seediness, the disgusting, hot jealousy that coursed through my veins and corroded any purity, any warm humanity that was left. I felt so utterly alone.
My cell phone never went off. Sometime around 5am I think I fell into a strange, fitful sleep. I woke up an hour or so later, feverish and wondering briefly why I felt so bleakly anguished, why there was a black cloud over everything. When I remembered it was like a physical blow, the visions came rushing back, a leaden weight settling back over my heart.
And then, the sun came up.
The morning birds began to sing, oblivious to my misery. And though I felt no happiness, there came a subtle shift with the new day. Relief. Whatever had happened had happened. It was over now, and finished. And somehow, in that bleak little inner-city flat, somewhere in my cloud covered heart, the relief began to push its way out, to the sun.