Into the abyss


It happened over Facebook. F*** Facebook. I’m sorry to swear. But that is the only way to say it. It used to be that old flames and near misses belonged to a past you couldn’t revisit, not without significant effort and risk. If someone was brave enough to find your phone number and actually dial the number, exposing whoever might be on the other end of the line, it took a special kind of courage fueled by either fate or foolishness. It took balls.

But not anymore. It’s now relatively easy to fire flaming arrows into the abyss and watch them flicker and fail from a safe distance. Or spark and heat up. And it’s possible now to approach as a replica of yourself, one with the personality and self confidence you believe you could exude, given the perfect circumstance. It’s all too easy to follow an impulse.

The reigning champ of keeping it to myself, the author of When to Bite First and Rejection: Strategies for Avoiding It, surprisingly, I started it. Heart beating loud enough to dull the sound of the computer keys going up and down under my fingers, I drew, aimed, and released the string. My arrow found a mark, the flame found material ready to ignite and in that moment, fair or ridiculous, I gave my ache a name: Drew.

I can’t say why. Why then, why him. My marriage was rutted and overgrown, and I was weary of weeding it. I had lost my sense of self in the guilt and despair of raising my babies. I wanted to start over, to crash the car in order to rise from the ashes. These are all real possibilities. This is surely just a midlife crisis, something of bloated importance and little meaning. Something I will outgrow if I shut it out long enough. It’s so incredibly wrong and such a terrible stereotype that it can’t be real.

Yet, he and I float, like small boats unanchored, unmoored, just calm. As if weighted by something deep below. As if waiting to see what the weather will do.

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