It is 4am and you know this time well.
You and I have spent many a night awake at this hour, eyes open, hand on my chest. I check constantly to make sure you are still beating. As if I could somehow still be alive without your beating. As if you and I aren't intricately linked.
I think I check because I know you are broken and in some ways have always been broken and so I worry that you are not strong enough to keep going. I am afraid you are a muscle that has been overworked already and that one moment you will just say "no thank you" and pause.
Dear heart, I know you know pain. I know you know it intimately and at times have associated life with the ache in your walls. The crazy thing, heart, is that you keep beating despite it. You keep going because of it.
Heart, I am trying to keep you open while closing off parts of you and I realize it is a lost cause. I realize there is no way to both welcome love into you while also locking the doors to your chambers.
Dear heart, I know you are mad at me. A little mad and have been for months now. I know you are trying to figure out the virtues of openness. I know you are trying to understand how I told a boy that he had gotten into my heart and that he was hiding there and that if I opened the chamber door again he had to be careful. I know you are wondering how I told him it took me years to lock him away and I wasn't sure I could do it again. I know you are wondering how you and I could have ended up back here after opening up like that. I tried, heart, to protect you. I tried, heart. But openness is a risk. And now we know the quiet of the bedroom at 4am with only the sounds of our tears hitting the pillow and our breath trying to convince us this heartbreak will not kill us just as other heartbreaks haven't.
Depending on the night, we either find this comforting or limiting. Depending on the night, the risk feels warranted or foolish. Depending on the night, we hold on to this story or let it go with a sigh.
Dear heart, you know love and you don't. You and I are blessed with people who love us. While we cry in the dark about our loneliness and about the romantic love we crave, we silently acknowledge that there are some loves we are already blessed to have. We are taught everyday about the possibilities of love from the family and friends who love us. And yet we struggle to accept it, let it in.
Our father admitted that his actions may have had an effect on your ability to understand what love is and what love should be. I told him not to worry about it, heart. It seems somewhere along the line forgiveness or understanding happened. I take this as a sign of your natural inclination toward openness and rejoice.
Heart, I wish we'd learn how to understand and forgive ourselves.
Heart, the thunderstorm that woke me up has passed but the dog is still cuddled up next to me. If I am still, I can feel his heart beating.
Heart, sometimes I think you are my blessing and my curse. You are my reason for everything that I do. You are why I am loved. You may also be the reason I'm ignored or left or put on a back burner or only called upon when needed or yearned for most when I'm far away.
Heart, sometimes when I meditate, I feel your openness and I feel safe. I appreciate those times. I appreciate when you let me see that, feel that.
Heart, I know you are covered in band-aids and gauze. I know you ache from strain. I know you are tight and pump blood thick from dehydration. I know you are waiting. I know you wish this healing would come faster. But we both know we bruise easily and that scars line our body and we know that the healing comes when we least expect it. Heart, we already know this. We've been here before. We know our propensity to close you off in the meantime, like an amusement park ride with several screws loose.
And that's not always bad, heart. Not always. We need to take the time for repairs. Make sure you are working properly.
The sky is brightening, heart. The day is starting. We should try to sleep, heart. We've written this. We've read yet another book of poetry. We should rest.
You need rest, heart.
You know, sometimes I put my hand to my chest and I can't find you. I can't feel you and I think that I've lost you for good, that you were not as strong as I thought, that you went hiding in a chamber and threw away to key so no one, including me, could find you.
But then I realize I am thinking, that I am breathing, that I am still alive. And I know you are there. I know you haven't left me. I know we are still in this together.
(This is day twenty-six of april love)