What if the gift’s the ending? We can reimagine our lives?

We loaded our bicycles, panniers, salty-skinned bodies into the van. The door shut and the dog licked my face. I smiled on the outside, retrieved my camera, snapped a photo with Brian, my husband, then watched as the open hills of South Dakota moved like sound waves through my heart, everything singing loss.

I might never come back for my destiny, I thought. Jesus Christ, I might never know.

~~~

Some people are doorways into new depths of ourselves.

My body pulled into his like a magnet, like it had been dead and suddenly shocked awake again.

Once we feel, we cannot un-feel.

~~~

Almost a year later, I still could not undo my longing. To wake up. To feel alive. To feel. To really feel again.

I want for us to come clean, I wrote my husband with every ounce of courage in me; to honor each other out the door.

~~~

He was my ex-husband now, well…paper work still in the works.

We ran into each other on a random side-street in the city at 2am on a Tuesday a month after we split.

When I didn’t know how I was getting home, he offered me to stay at his.

We hardly cuddled in that tiny twin bed. He tried, but I couldn’t kiss him. I couldn’t bear to take off my clothes. I couldn’t offer my body, not my heart, not my hands.

All I could do was sob. And so I did. And he did, too.

We sobbed together until we forgot why we were sobbing. Until we fell asleep like motherless babies in a new world neither of us knew.

~~~

My best friend curled into my bed after her brother’s wedding and spooned me. The gas that had been grumbling in my stomach for a month slowly disappeared. I slept without worry or stress for the first time in a long time. Woke up with tears in my throat. Drove her home where her family was waiting.

Do you ever miss him? her parents asked of my ex.

Sometimes. We’re not talking right now. I just need the space. 

I got back in my car. Soko played in the background. Four years and I still haven’t gotten over you, she sings.

The whole ride home, grief flooded my face.

I landed on the couch of my parent’s house, asked my mother to read to me.

~~~

He called from South Dakota one year after Bri and I loaded that van with our bikes. Bri was back on the Rez and ran into him, told him out of the goodness in his heart that we broke up and I’d love to hear from him. Then gave him my number so he could call.

I’m building my house, he left on my voice-machine. You can come out if you’d like. I’d love to see ya.

Three hours later I was in a rental car out of Union Station in D.C., due West.

Two and a half days later, he was holding me at the top of his dusty driveway, a whole universe of unfinished business flooding our bodies.

He put up the teepee for me, laid down the bed, heated the magma rocks for the sweat, sang me the songs we could never forget.

At night, we brought life down from the cosmos.

In the mornings he chased the horses until I awoke with mad love in my eyes.

And ten days later, I said an impossible thank you and the most grateful goodbye.

~~~

A cat nudges me now in the mornings, purrs like a reminder that love comes in many forms.

I sit alone after a year of dating around, doing my best at not hurrying for others arms or eyes.

I sit alone now in a whole new body, cell after cell transforming from stuck to free.

I do my best at getting out of the way, at letting myself float in the unknown until something real jumps out for touching.

~~~

Some truth about love is really wanting to break through you, Jenny tells me on the phone today, one year exactly after Brian and I split.

It’s true, I say knowingly, tears cracking my voice. I have to keep going like this–risking everything for my truth, not knowing what will happen. I have to stay willing to speak everything in my heart, then watch things break or be born again.

Yes, she whispered with power. It’s revolutionary work.

It is. But what else is there? I’m here for the very best quality love. I can’t pretend I’m wired any other way.

Not pretending is the beginning, she said.

Yes, I nodded quietly, and we both knew that’s where I was. At the beginning. Re-imagining the shape of my heart, whole and happy.

~~~

A year ago this short was filmed by my incredible friends Jen and Corinna via Hopeful World Productions. Brian and I so tenderly agreed to let them capture the very end of our relationship on reel. I am so thankful to have it, to hear Jen’s wisdom, to see all the love matched with all the loss, to know that truly, our goodbyes are the beginnings to the new life that is waiting for us.

Today, I hope you give this film a watch. And may you know, especially if you are amidst grand change, that there is reason to be hopeful, to have faith, to trust, that a deeper truer you is ripening. And that we are truly, truly together in the tenderness of our beautiful endless cycles.

All my love,

Rachael

 

 

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