When it’s Over [An ode to the good ones who broke up with me, the good ones I broke up with, and the rarity good ones where it was mutual]

hands-k-and-b

Photo: MO 2012

Sometime after
The tears have turned
From the deluge that flows
After I stop holding it in
And give myself permission
To unlock the levee
Of all that I don’t want to feel

And the tears have lightened to a trickle
Like the last few drops of a summer thunderstorm
Signaling the eventual fresh smell,
Gentle return of light-
Maybe, just maybe, a color spectrum in the sky—-

Sometime after you-
The images of you-
Circling my head on repeat
Fade to slow shots
That come back on random Tuesdays
In the grocery aisle
Where we once filled our arms with chocolate and fruit and wine
And our hands interlaced

I smile.
Not in glee.
I smile slowly at the corners.
Fuzzies still warm the blood around my heart.

And I say “thank you.”
Thank you for you.
Thank you for heartbreak.
For teaching me.
For shaping me.
For changing me.
Thank you for the taste of your mouth.
For walks in parks
Under clear night starry skies.
For that text that made me laugh.
For the way you pointed at the moon and slid your arm behind my back.
For opening my palms. Heart. Mind.

Because I will do this again.
I will love–love in all the hues of the original Greek.
Better each time.
With a little more wisdom.
A little more bravery.
A little more assertion.
A little more listening to what I really I want.
A little more asking of what you really want.
A little more silliness.
Dancing. Touch.
Being naked in water and forest.
Poems.
Fire.
Tousling your hair.

They are not just ghosts of our pasts.
Old loves change us.

Every man I’ve ever cared for- had a woman who integrally cared for him.
Maybe they’re still friends.
Maybe it’s too painful for me to know more.
Maybe it’s none of my damn business.

But as long as there are healthy boundaries in place,
I am not jealous of her. Nor bitter of her.
In fact, I’m immensely thankful for her work.

If you come to me,
There are men who have shaped me.
Who showed me how to show up better.
Who helped me to understand the ways gender messaging hurts men too,
ad how I can be a mutual ally, forever in progress,
and in need of ongoing constructive feedback.
Who helped me navigate conflict.
Who taught me lessons that I hope I don’t need to re-learn.

But ultimately,
We are humans. Wired for connection.
Who are loved into our becoming.
We continually evolve.

I am not afraid of your past.
Your old loves.

I am partly who I am, but only in part, from my old loves.
You are partly who you are, but only in part, from yours.

So may we love each other well
Into the people of our becoming.

Ever being shaped by love–and its chief conduit: lovers–
past and present, into the dot dot dot ellipses
of love into our beyond.

[Post script: This is about no single love in particular. Yes each of these things are real experiences. I have found a true awakening to being naked and free in the outdoors. I believe life, creation, that thing that connects us all, shapes us infinitely, not just lovers. Not just people. Nature. The world itself. Lately, though, as I get older, I think about how my list of old loves grows longer, and naturally, future partners’ do, too. And the best thing I can think to do is to be grateful. Wholly grateful. While seeking to find a long-term partner to craft co-authored narratives, that have separate entries some days to tap into the parts of all ourselves that make us who we are, but mostly, chapters together, in many places, in many seasons, in every hue of the Greek words for love.]