Thursday, Feb. 07, 2019 @ 11:18 pm
Seamlessly slipping back into city life. Swiping my transit card and passing through the fare gates. The practiced shuffle onto a loaded train car. I stand a head taller than most and gaze across all of the different faces, most of them absorbed in their phones. Bodies are pressed together yet everyone is alone.
In the boardroom after work with the Scotch tasting club. Twelve men and three women. The peaty warmth eases some things within me, and I am grateful that I was extended an invitation.
I go to see Lydia, the third yoga class that I used to attend. Again, she tells me to not pay. Her voice, so soft and calm, stills the remainder of the shakiness within me. I leave feeling wrung out and lighter, the soppiness of doubt squeezed free.
I find more and more moments of joy, of fullness. I find myself smiling. I start to listen to more upbeat music. I find myself moving to the music when I'm alone in the kitchen, and it makes me want to be up at the front at a loud summer music festival after sundown. To be immersed in sensation - heat, touch, sound.
One of the cats, Minnow, warms up to me. Shoves her soft face into my palm. I run my hand down her thin spine. At night, she curls up on my belly, purring and kneading. I fall asleep glad for her company.
He sends me the email. I respond with a short note of encouragement tempered with "this is coming a little late for me". He calls me immediately, in a catastrophic state.
"You're doing this to me over the phone?"
"I'm scared to do it in person. I wanted to do it in person, but I didn't want to go up there and be stranded and trapped near your anger. Can you understand that?"
"Yes, yes I can. I'm begging you to let me show you that I can change."
"I can't do that, living with you. I need to move away and been on my own. I need to heal my emotional traumas. "
"Just come home. I'll leave you alone. I'll do my own thing. I'll pay for half of an apartment here in town if that's what you need. Please, just come home."
I struggle with how his epiphany changes things for me, if it changes anything. I have spent so much time becoming firm in my decision. In the course of the conversation he says something that triggers me, and I pause. And call him out on it.
"This," I say, "This is why I need to be on my own for a while. You are trying, but I cannot be the one to coach you through this."
"You sound so different. Assertive. Confident. I want to know this version of you. I don't know how I never saw this part of you. And there's another thing. I forgot something important in my email to you. That I've taken you for granted. I've taken you for granted and am so sorry."
Grace. What is grace? Where is grace appropriate? Where is the intersection between grace and self-preservation? And then, the idea of tough love. My leaving allowed him to move into a place of self-awareness.
"One day, you will have gratitude for this moment. I hope that you will see how my leaving will have set you on the path to find more joy in life and relationships."
"I will never have gratitude for you leaving."
I tell him that the conversation is over. I hang up the phone. I sit at the waterfront and watch the yellow crocuses quivering in the cold winter wind. Gulls wheel above the inlet. Thin high clouds, everything seeped in bright white grey that only exists in Vancouver.
I stand up and turn towards the city. In that moment, I realize that the abyss no longer holds power over me.