that’s the thing about pain; it demands to be felt.

there’s a moment when you’ve walked away from a story, out of the theater, into the light, to wait in a crowded restroom filled with women of varying colors and shapes and ages. it’s loud in this room–the voices, the laughter, the doors opening and closing, the water running, the dryers droning. it’s loud. and glaringly bright.

and you wait for the quiet to come. because you kind of need it.

and then it gets there. and it’s awful. because there’s just the silence. and this piercing buzz of electricity. and you never feel more alone in your life than in that moment. and all you really want is to be back in the story. in the theater where no one can see you. because once the lights go down, no one cares that you’re alone. not even you.

the trouble with the silence is it makes you remember. even if you don’t want to. especially then. it paralyzes you. so you’re there. and it’s louder than those voices and the laughter and the doors and the water and the dryers. and you know you should get up. get out. but you just can’t. because… holy fuck.

i watched that awkward moment. and it was so good. a very nice blend of romantic and comedy. seriously. it was really good. most times when i go see a romcom, i leave thinking that was cute. and i can shrug off the sappy. but every now and then…

so finally, finally you find the stamina to move. you wash your hands. you dry them. you open the door. you walk out. toward the exit.

past theaters seventeen and sixteen…

seventeen… the day he found me.

sixteen… the day i lost him.

and it doesn’t matter how much time passes or how many men i’ve dated since or how many of those men have managed to capture my interest (which is actually kind of hard to do). it doesn’t matter that i know i was supposed to lose him. it doesn’t.

it only matters because all i had to do was find the right words. and i couldn’t. all i had to do was hear what he said, not what the ghosts of decades past were chanting in my head. and i couldn’t.

it only matters because twenty years later, even with all the horrible, HORRIBLE things i’ve been shown and told in my life… this here knocks me flat:

you’ll never get married because you’re too ugly and no one wants to wake up next to something that ugly every morning.

there’s nothing you can say to a girl that will crush her soul quite so well as that.


6 responses to “that’s the thing about pain; it demands to be felt.”

  1. I couldn't agree with Allie more. What a cruel, disgusting, vile thing to say and person who said it.

    I can understand that it sticks. 20 years ago someone (that I thought I loved) told me that my body repulsed him. That has stuck.

    Words can be awfully heavy to carry around. I'm sorry that you've had to carry so many cruel ones.

  2. We met once. I wish we had met twice. It was a while ago, but you still pop in my head, sometimes even when I wake up, and it's certainly not a terrible mental image to wake up to. In fact, it's very pleasant…except for the part where I only met you once. That part is disappointing.

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