So there I was, in my makeshift office at DREAMERSchool. Again.
It’s the same place I sit every afternoon, from right after lunch finishes through until dinner at 8 p.m. The place where I religiously put my notebook to my right and my water bottle to my left; where the chair has to be backed up to the wall behind me so that I can sit up straight and see into the courtyard. The place where I am so often to be found that my Italian colleagues tease me, every day, without fail. Enough, Laura! they say. Go to the beach! Eat some fruit! You work too hard!
They don’t understand that being in my office is my sanctuary, my church, my home, my rest, my challenge.
I’m currently a sort of electronic pen pal with a guy I met a few months back, and somehow we’ve entered into a mutual agreement of getting to know ourselves under the premise of getting to know each other. At least, that’s how I’m playing the game. I sit at this table and write to him sometimes. In his most recent emails he said to me, outright and with no apology, what are your views on love?
Tomorrow my ex-love finally marries the ex-best friend he left me for three years ago.
WHAT ARE MY VIEWS ON LOVE.
I sat down to write back. I stood up and went for a walk instead. I put off returning to the convent by letting the barriers fall in front of my face at the train tracks, instead of breaking into a jog to cross before the train lambasted by. I was grateful for the delay.
I did that twice.
Hands sticky from nutella-flavoured drips, an hour later I eventually returned to my spot after not-so-accidentally making a turn that didn’t lead me to the convent. I took a deep breath and I wrote my ending before my beginning, because that seemed like the better place to start.
This is why I needed to walk before I sat down to write. My reticence in penning any of this has roots in my changeability. I so long to be the girl who understands who and what she is, what she stands for, is reliable and constant. But that is absolutely not me. Ideological inconsistency is practically my doctrine- a discourse on what I once believed, what I understand now, and how I hope to unpack the mental boxes still unknown means I’m forever unfinished business. Isn’t that exhausting?
And I am exhausted. Exhausted that even now, after all this time, I think about being dumped and feeling humiliated and struggle to move on. Surely by now I should be singing from a different hymn sheet. Three years is a long time. I sat and let the different parts of my personality battle it out as to just how pathetic I was.
Nobody wants to listen to this self-pitying bull.
He doesn’t even remember who you are anymore.
People break up all the time. Why do you think your broken heart is so special?
And then, inexplicably, the kind voice in my mind spoke louder than all the rest.
There’s no set way to get over anything, I whispered to myself. Write to see what you say. It’s okay. Go on. You’ve got this.
I did as I’d instructed myself.
I see hope at the end of my rainbow, I wrote slowly. Deliberately. I can’t ever promise anybody that I will love them forever, but goddamn it I’ll promise them I’ll try, every day. I’m ready to experiment with myself and see how it feels to give 100%. They tell me it’s quite the experience. It’s been so long I don’t think I remember. I’d like to be reminded.
I re-read my words and saw that I was looking forward. That I’d been generous with myself. I’d allowed myself a little hope. Never mind three years being a long time- for the lightness I suddenly felt, that feeling of absolute achievement, I would’ve waited three times that.
I didn’t cry this time. I have no tears left. I could’ve run a marathon with the energy that burst through my soul.
At the beginning of every new DREAMERSchool session, I let the colors know that it is okay to be themselves with me by telling them things about me. Personal things. I prepare a paper with ten answers, and they have to figure out the question.
To Kill a Mockingbird.
Blue cheese gnocchi.
Say yes to life.
Why did you tell us that you had had your heart broken once? asked one of the colors at lunch yesterday. Why would you tell us something so sad? I thought about it. Because it is an important part of how I learned to grow up, I told her. I've grown up a lot.
Not so long ago I said, I had to stop proving to the world I was okay in order to finally be okay
And now I’m okay, I can even allow myself to imagine about a romance in the future.
I never thought I’d get that far.
And so I sat in my pretend office that everyone makes fun of, and I thought about him, and about me, and I know that it is no coincidence that the final line in our past gets drawn in the sand right as I’ve decided to leap into my future.