I’ve spent nights making promises in whispers and sighs, “I’ll never leave you.” Parents promise their children they won’t die until “a long long time from now,” to quell fears of terror. We sign letters with, “always” and “yours.” We make promises we can’t keep with our bodies and our breath.
Wet knotted shoelaces, a thin silver necklace snarled into a mess the size of a coin, my hair after sex. A pin, good lighting, and Terax Hair Conditioner usually do the trick. Sometimes there are tough knots in my life, the kind that take forever to untangle. They usually mean very little, yet they take the most time to repair.
It’s amazing how fast everything important can be undone.
People break up via email and instant messenger. By people, I mean me. I’ve done that. I’ve unsubscribed from people and added them to my blocked list. Even without technology, in person, my speech becomes limited and closed. My arms fold. It’s my way of sending them an “away message.” Go away.
Sometimes it was my way of trying on coward. I was too afraid to say it to their face, or I was too afraid to hear their truths; it hurt less if I didn’t have to remember the way they said it. Other times, it was the vehicle that expended the least amount of energy or effort on my end, usually only reserved for toxic people.
In a phone call, a text message, an email, an instant message conversation. Weddings that took months of planning can be called off. Engagements broken. A phone call to a moving company and real estate agent and you’re as good as gone. Complicated relationships, where promises and truths were shared in dark theatres, through a bar with his hand on her back, in the backseat of cabs, in the rain when he shared his umbrella, can unbutton in a beat. People can slip out of promises faster than the unraveling of fine tangled thread.
People leave. People die. People change their minds.
But if you say it, be accountable. I don’t know how I’ll feel ten years from today. Will I still love my family and dog? Yes. That’s about the only thing I know for sure, and that doesn’t scare me because of what I know today. I know that I will be okay, that I will manage, that I will love again. I treat my friendships and the relationships I commit to with a willingness to always try to work things out. I can do that now. I’m accountable for that.
Sometimes things don’t work out. Sometimes you hit a barricade, and no amount of love will help with the pole vault over it. You can drag out the conversation in a search for external closure, or you can come to terms with it within yourself, in a moment. In a text. In a word. Over.
I don’t know if this makes me sad, thankful, or relieved. The undoing happened too fast. Maybe I’ll know in a few years, when I can see the light of today’s stars.