Sharing this scares me. That’s why I have to do it.
Dear Kidney Stone,
I never knew 3mm could be so enormous. You certainly pack a punch for such a tiny thing, and that isn’t a compliment. I hate you with a hatred I hadn’t known existed until your little buddy showed up a couple of years ago. I cursed him the way I curse you now, and he eventually went on his way leaving me with painful memories, a hospital bill, and the bladder of a pregnant woman. Luckily, my bladder recovered and things went back to normal. All was right with the world.
Then you decided to show up.
Out of nowhere, I felt like I was Caesar and you’re bloody little self was the knife Brutus so famously used to stab his BFF. I knew in an instant it was one of your kind. The words that left my mouth were not so ladylike, but neither is walking hunched over gasping every time I took a step with my right foot. I mean, unless I’m a 95 year old lady with a twisted ankle. Then it’s totally ladylike.
It’s been a couple of weeks now, and you are slowly and tortuously ruining my life. Work? Nope. Dates? Nope. Walking downstairs to get ice to try and freeze you into submission? Nuh-uh. Taylor Swift concert I’m supposed to attend tomorrow as the most amazing birthday present ever? I bet you can guess the answer to that one.
Really, what I’m getting at is that you are an evil son of a bitch, and I long for the day that I never have to feel you ever again. You freaking suck. Big time. Not just like a little bit. A whole lot of it. So yeah, I hate you.
I’ve lived a magical life. For the most part.
My early years were spent circulating the west. I was born in Denver but never really called it home. Most of my childhood happened in San Diego under sunshine and surrounded by the salty ocean atmosphere. I loved my little neighborhood. An eclectic group of people who found a common love for one another and treated neighbors like family. I spent most of my time at Hodad’s, home of the world’s best burgers. Sometimes I would go play games at the arcade down the street or check out the new arrivals over at the nearest surf shop, but I always ended up back at Hodad’s. On multiple occasions I watched the sunset over the Pacific as surfers caught their final waves for the night. One time my friends even buried me in the sand. It was hilarious, until they left without digging me up. A little harsh if you ask me. But somebody soon came by and brushed me off, so it wasn’t all that bad. And of course we headed back to Hodad’s.
I loved what I had going. A chill life filled with fun characters and world famous food. I couldn’t ask for more. But I did. I was young then and didn’t realize that sometimes the best adventure is the one you’re already having.
I worked hard to find a ride out of town and onto bigger and better things. I was picked up by a college aged guy. We didn’t stick together long. He stopped at some place with a golden “M” out front for lunch one day, and I was appalled at what he called a burger. He’d had Hodad’s. He knew what I burger was supposed to look like, to taste like. No way that thing was a burger. With my passionate stance on beef patties causing strife, we went our separate ways just outside of LA. There, I met a family heading east, back home from a summer road trip. They were nice enough, though a bit energetic for my taste. Their home was Chicago, and on the way back we stopped at nearly every attraction imaginable. In and out of the car. In and out. It was killing me. We were driving across the country but I wasn’t experiencing anything of substance. Most times I just stayed in the car while they got out to take those generic vacation pictures all tourists indulge in.
It wasn’t until Saint Louis that I actually got out to enjoy myself. We rode up to the top of the Gateway Arch and marveled at the views. They were astounding. The only other view that had given me the same kind of feeling of peace was a Pacific sunset. Something about seeing how vast the world is makes you comfortable in your meagerness.
Hours passed before I realized the family had left without me. I had formed an odd attachment to them during our journey and was somewhat hurt by their lack of concern for my well-being. But I understood; it was time for them to move on and for me to follow my own path. I was content just staying up in the Arch a bit longer, taking in the view and thinking of the history behind this architectural marvel. I was able to go undetected when the last security guard did a final sweep before going home for the night. Looking out at the sun falling behind the city, I found comfort in knowing that same sun would be setting over my home in a couple of hours.
I was awoken the next morning by a child shaking me with excitement. I had never seen anybody so excited to see me, and we had never met. It felt nice to own a slice of celebrity, even though I had no idea what I’d done to deserve it. I went with her to find her mother. She was adamant about introducing us, and I couldn’t say no to that sweet face.
I wish I had. I wish I had had the sense to stay away from the fanatical little girl. She was adorable and sweet at first, but it was only a show she’d put on for me. A way to get close to me.
I’ll never forget later that evening when she locked me away, the last glimpse of sunlight being devoured by the darkness. I wasn’t surprised to see that I wasn’t the first victim. Once I adjusted to the dark, I saw a handful of others cowering in the darkness with me. I felt sick. Why would anybody do this? Take away the light? The adventure?
I don’t know how long it’s been since that day. I used to try tracking the days, but after awhile they all just blurred together. Every once in awhile the girl would open our prison, light peaking through as though to tease me, and add another prisoner. She even let many of my fellow captives go, but for some reason she’s extra careful not to release me.
I have no hope now. I will never see my home again. Never smell the salty ocean air or hear the buzz in the kitchen as burgers are flipped and fries fried. My home is gone. It is only a memory. My biggest adventure is behind me, and I didn’t even realize I was on it until it was over.
She was falling apart at the seams. She knew it. How could anybody deny something so obvious? But just because she knew it, didn’t mean she had the energy to do anything about it.
Retreating into herself felt like a fine enough answer to her problems. It may not have been enough for her friends or family, but they didn’t have to live in her tangled web like she did. They didn’t get a say.
She’d always had a hard time leaving well enough alone. When things were good, they could be better. When they were better, they had potential to be the best. But she was now beginning to understand, being just good is sometimes the best option. There’s no need to pull at a loose thread when the others are doing quite fine keeping the sweater together.
But she couldn’t help herself. She pulled. And that led to another loose thread. She pulled again. She disassembled herself, piece by piece, until she couldn’t recognize the girl who’d taken the place of her reflection.
The worst part of the whole unraveling was that it wasn’t about her. She wasn’t at the epicenter of her own self-destruction. She couldn’t even show herself enough self-respect to make her breakdown about her. It was him. It was all him. Just like it always had been.
It’s easy to lie here with you in the dark. Two o’clock in the morning is forgiving. There is no judgement, no guilt. All there is is the sharp howl of the wind against your old window panes and the sweet, low rumble of your breathing hitting your pillow. Even though it’s dark, I can still make out the muscular curve of your back and the carefree way you drape your left arm over your head with its counterpart hanging off the side of the bed.
You are beautiful to look at. Sitting here, drowning in one of your college t-shirts, I’m amazed by the effortless ease of your beauty. Women would kill for that perfectly nonchalant sex appeal. They’d kill to sleep with it, too. And yet, once the sun rises and the world begins to bustle once more, I know regrets of this night will be all my mind can focus on.
Those regrets won’t be about the lack of sleep or the non-existence of inhibitions. They will be about the way I am letting myself fall for you when I know certainly well that you have no intention of ever falling. Letting my addiction to you abuse my heart in unimaginable ways.
Once the light hits our cheeks, and we must wake to the world, we will part. You will go on living life as usual, and I, I will sink down deep into myself and wonder how I could ever let myself love you more than I love me.
Life made sense today. Sitting under the uninterrupted blue sky. Listening to the rhythm of a woodpecker in a nearby oak tree. Watching innocence incarnate weave tiny fingers through blades of grass for the first time, unsure of her newest discovery. It was a beautiful day that felt like a gift, just for me. Sitting on our tiny blanket, she and I took in the entire park, having every square inch to ourselves. Free to wander. Free to dance. Free to laugh from our bellies and still keep our giddiness a secret from the rest of the ever bustling world. Heaven was on Earth today, and it made sense.
It made sense, until it didn’t. Home from our outing, the baby down for a well-deserved nap, I reflected on the joys of the day. The miracle of nature and the beauty of childhood blessed my memory, making it a day never to be forgotten. But as I sat, taking in life, a pit in my stomach sorely reminded me that I will never again share one of those miraculous days with you. A guilt crept over me in an instant. Anger grew inside me until I could taste its bitter bite at the back of my throat. How could I have enjoyed such an amazing afternoon after losing you just days ago? How could I forget the darkness that devours when the light chooses not to show? So much that had been right suddenly felt nothing but wrong.
A sound came over the monitor and snapped me out of my self-induced misery. The cry was that of a child ready for more. She was not sad to be awake. She was excited to continue a day of adventures and discoveries. A day that she will ultimately forget as she grows up, but a day that will forever be engrained clearly in my memory. And I did not want that memory tainted by loss. Sitting at my computer, listening to the cooing of a loving infant, I made the decision to let today make sense. Today was a day of light, of bliss. There have been days of darkness, of loss. There will be more of both, certainly. But the giggling of that baby girl is reason enough to hold on to the days of light. To let them reign. Because even though I must deal with darkness, there will never be enough to extinguish the light she’s placed in my heart. And that light will always make sense.
It’s dark. And it’s been that way for a while now. It’s not the kind of dark that makes you question whether or not you’ve shut your eyes, but it’s not just a light blanketing of shadow that announces the onset of dusk either. This dark is somewhere in between. Or maybe it is the between. A saturation of blues and purples that, every now and then, gives way to glimpses of faded amber. They never last. The glow disappears almost as soon as you discover it, like the shimmer of a lightening bug in late June. It shines just enough to show you where it’s been but never where it’s going.
The darkness is normal now. No longer does it feel bleak or cold. It simply is, and I’ve come to terms with that. I don’t go in search for those spots of gold contrasting this eternal midnight anymore. They used to be signs of hope – hope that light would somehow return and reawaken our eyes. Now, they are more like lapses in time when the past and present collide for the briefest of instances. A hiccup in a timeline. Nothing more. It’s nice to have the memory of warmth, of light dancing in the sky, but it’s even nicer not to hold onto a false hope of that warmth’s return.