This Can Only End Through Tears

Today’s tears were clear and quiet, and once they passed I checked my face in the mirror. But there was no red, no blotches. Today’s tears slid out softly. 

Not the sticky, clogged tears I’d tried a couple times before. Because I have cried over you, a few times in our short time, and right from the beginning. Probably not a good sign.

The sticky tears were a different breed, forced from frustration, steam-pressed by thinking, solving, re-thinking, over-solving. They were tears of conflict destined for arduous resolution, tears of impatient waiting for hopeful return.

But today, these tears were of grief, of endings chosen by others. Because God knows I can’t shut a damn door! I throw up flimsy walls, glued with sticky tears, which topple at the hint of an excuse. Resolve crumbles at the prospect of pain, with the promise of relief.

So they have to end it. It’s always been like this. I feel rejected, but it’s me, rejecting the contract, article by article, until they walk away. My due process, my failsafe.

And today I knew, like we women can know, in our gut, in our dreams, that this absence is not like the others. That he is not coming back. And really, that there is nothing to come back to. Not the way it is. 

The thought caught me halfway through a bite of syrup-soaked pancake, and I set down the fork, sat back, and sobbed softly. Tears from my gut, truth, not forced from my head. Tears that bubbled and flowed, uncontrolled, taking with them pieces of the past. 

The sticky tears were immature, unprepared. They were tears of impending endings. Tears of foreboding, but I could still hold them. Still grab and pull him back. Save what I wanted and ignore the rest.

These tears were ripe, ripping reality faster than I could catch it. Releasing in a rush, pushing him further. Tears for clearing, purging, cleaning. Tears of grief and new beginnings.

Later I was fragile, drained, and gentle with myself. I didn’t run, I didn’t surf, I ate chocolate and laid with a friend. Grief… don’t push, don’t hold, let flow.

In my car the thoughts came back, swirling and building. Don’t cry, he didn’t mean that much. Don’t cry, don’t give it that. But they climbed on, and broke my chest with a single sob, a loud sigh. He meant enough…enough to earn a proper mourning. Every ending is a little death. I slumped in my seat and surrendered. 

And then…recovered, and drove on. But to a fresh mind. One with stunning strength and depth, with clear sight of all he was, and all we were, and a certainty that I need not be sad about such a situation.  

The calm was soothing and I wished it would last forever. But I know it will cycle. That another day will go by without a response and the little hopes still sparkling will crackle and fade to dark. And each one will burn a bit as it dies. That I will wake up lonely and reach for the closest memory of a man, and it will be him, and I will resist the sadness, until it builds and burns and I cannot help but cry. 

Or…until I remember to cry before it burns. To let the tears come easier. That they are not bad, they are a balm. That each truthful tear carries away a piece the pain, and closes the cycle, opens another. Grief unreleased turns to rot. Rot turns bitter, and spreads to the next. So my body brews an ocean, and the salt takes the stains, and leaves me clean for the next phase. And it can only happen this way. 

This can only end through tears. 

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