There’s a story happening in the tops of the trees.
I can see its script, littering the path under my feet. We are at the beginning of Act II: Already, the old bud casings have burst and dropped their golden thorn shapes. Now, suddenly, the long spirally flowering catkins are everywhere. They are over. When they were up there, beckoning, I didn’t even know about it.
I have a broken heart.
It is my own fault. I know this. I don’t know why I can’t be more of a grown-up about this, not take everything so fucking seriously. It has ended the best relationship I’ve ever had.
Yesterday, as I drove over the four-lane bridge, the giant grey ribbon of a heron flew into the treetops with a branch in its beak. Doing the hard thing. Taking a chance. This weekend, it was happening in my front yard also – the bushtits were building their mossy purse of a nest for at least the fifth year.
And then I watched a grey squirrel hurl itself, tail flailing in wide destructive circles, right at the nest. He missed it. But for the rest of the day, I watched to see if the bushtits would return. They didn’t.
My body is buzzing, miserable, numb.
He says things. Sarcastic. They are small, but I do not experience these things as small. I know that he never means to hurt me. It doesn’t matter. I experience them as these sort of volted stabs in the heart. They make my body buzz, miserable and numb. I tell myself I am overreacting. It doesn’t change the feeling. I don’t know how to feel this close to someone and not panic at an unkind word.
So last night I hurled myself at the nest. Said goodbye. I thought that after, the feeling would get better, not worse. I have broken up before and felt saner. Sure of myself. But this morning I don’t feel better. I feel worse.
I tell this to my dear friends.
Uncle Bear says, “It’s really hard to communicate a non-negotiable.”
Luckey Bunny says, “You feel this way because you are still in love.”
(Yes. These are their real names. You can have one, too, if you dare.)
Uncle Bear says “It hard to break up when you are still in love. I know. It takes me way too fucking long to break up with people. But you have to listen to your needs, honey.”
I think about this. Is this true? I say, “Luckey Bunny, do you think that's true? Do you think that Uncle Bear takes way too fucking long to break up with people?”
Uncle Bear guffaws. “The whole fucking universe thinks I take too long! Listen to me. This hurts. That’s all. Your heart hurts like a pig-fucker. This is the awful shit of loving someone.”
This hurts. Though dancing helped a little. Last night, when Forest got home, he requested his current favorite song: “I’m Still Standing” from the movie Sing. We bellowed the lyrics and I did the “magic knees” move and he leaned back on the couch and whaled on the air guitar. “I’m Still Standing” is in Forest’s playlist, followed by “Come Together.” But when that song came on, he asked me to play “I’m Still Standing” again and then read a comic book with him.
The dancing helps but then I go to bed. I wake and look at the lamp, I don’t know where I am. A long twilight moment where I know something is wrong but I don’t know what. Then I remember. I feel as if I am missing a body part. It's only 10:30.
This hurts. But this morning, in the front yard, the bushtits are back at the nest. Under the witch hazel, a crow sets his beak in cluster of old strawberry roots. He grasps hard with his feet and pulls, then flies up into the story that I can’t see.