What do you do when you see the person who broke your heart, sitting at the table next to yours in a restaurant? Cool as ever over cheese fondue.
c. Walk over ultra-cool and strike up a conversation.
d. Pretend that they don’t exist (and hope they do the same).
Frantic thinking. You can’t do a. since they’ve spotted you already and are trying to figure out if you really are who they think. Hence b. is ruled out as well…besides you’d have to pass them when you walked out, thus giving them a perfect opportunity to confirm what they’re thinking.
You wonder if you could pull off c. but your feet refuse to move and you desist out of fear of doing something incredibly unpardonable like stammering, blushing furiously – or worst of all – starting to cry, right into that silly cheese fondue.
And you suddenly know that you can never meet their eyes because just locking gazes with them will make the tears start….all of those that have been blotted away, disciplined behind years of defense mechanisms….will all start once they look at you. Why is it that you’re the one being embarrassed over what happened and unable to meet the gaze of the person who performed the heinous crime of breaking your heart?
In an instant all the years fall away. The person you’ve built yourself to be, all of a sudden vaporizes before your eyes. And once again you’re back to where you were years ago….feeling small, unloveable, weak and helpless.
Some scars continue to itch, long after the wounds heal. Distance may prove to be some balm but when that’s gone, you’re back to bleeding. Back to bewildered, hurt, confused, scared. Back to wondering whether the years in between were just a figment of your own imagination and learning to live and laugh and love again was just a dream. Back to the horrific moment, breath stuck in your throat, forgetting how to be happy, forgetting about anything mattering at all, forgetting how to live a half-life like you’re still you but with some vital organs missing.
Then somehow, slowly…you remember how to breathe. Exhale. Out with all the bad stuff in your head.
Life, one breath at a time. Love, one memory at a time. Cheese fondue in time too.
And finally when you get up to leave, you notice the table next to you is empty.
That’s it, the trick is…to….just…keep… breathing.