The story that started it all.
We all have a defining moment, or several defining moments in our lives that lead up to a larger purpose, a larger story that needs to be told. This was one of my defining moments. This tiny intricate part of my larger story lead to me to something much bigger, that enabled me to tell my whole story in the form of a blog, podcast, and soon a book- and has morphed into a community where more women can share their stories. Their ultimate identities. Here is the story that started it all...
I softly and almost drunkenly slapped the blue wrinkled post-it on my bathroom mirror that said “It will all be ok”. I stared at it for what felt like a very long time, but I’m sure it wasn’t more than a few minutes. Those minutes dragged on past myself, past where I was standing and knocked me down inside and then picked me back up again. If I had nothing else to believe in at the moment, I had that wrinkled blue post it. The remainders of the bathroom that were dressed in my clothing from the night before, a pair of black stilettos, a towel and other random remembrance of seldom fun all pulled me back into reality. Hello bathroom, hello blue wall, hello daytime.
I needed out of this reality, it hurt and lingered and made me feel like I couldn’t breathe. Every time I closed my eyes I thought about Elliott, I thought about how I ignored the last text that I got from him regardless of the fact that it was the longest text I’ve ever received, regardless of the fact that it was from him. I wanted to be respectful of my new relationship and didn’t feel like circling the same drain over and over. But now it didn’t matter, now he was gone and so was my relationship. I closed my eyes and they burned. Whispering to myself, I vowed to never ignore someone that I loved ever again, regardless of circumstance, because maybe there would come a day when they would be gone forever and I would no longer run into them at Broadway bar or the party on Sunset Blvd. I would never see his crooked smile again, or hear his laugh, or hug him. I wondered if that was why we were together at one point despite our friendship because he was only going to be on this earth a short while and I needed his love just as he needed mine. Briefly, I turned to my now ex for comfort in the mist of Elliott’s passing and he turned me away; only a few weeks after our break up, even as I remained in our house my once love had turned cold and hard. Wondering as I would for a very long time if this is who he really was or if he hardened when hurt and sad, I allowed my thoughts to carry me far away until the distant reminisce of a car horn outside brought me back to reality.
I blinked my eyes and tears threw themselves out as if being freed from cages of eyelashes as I swiped them away with my hand. I walked over to the mirror and slowly peeled off my blue Post-it. I stared at it and read it out loud.
“It will all be ok.” I mouthed. We were in a stare down the Post-it and I, wrinkled, soiled, and now wet from the corners of my thumb. “Fuck.”
I slapped the Post-it back in its place and left my go to sanctuary of tissues and hot showers to face the semi-real world known as my living room. Still too fragile for real life, I had yet again called in sick. Work was not for tears, work was not for hot tea and pajamas. Work was for long meetings with big words, annoying executives that made me abide by budgets, rules, and normal human social behaviors, work was for all of the fashionista’s in marketing that had too much Botox to care.
Elliott’s childhood friends were kind enough to text me and keep me in the loop. There was a memorial like service next weekend that they made known to me. As I read the words “memorial” in my head, pronouncing every syllable like like a foreign word I closed my eyes and remembered the day not far before when I sat at my father’s memorial stunned and frozen in emotion crying in front of strangers who all thought they were closest to the man I called my father. I wasn’t one to show emotion in person. Through that experience I learned that you can’t care what other people think of your presence, or lack thereof, your emotions are your own and no one else’s. If I were to go I knew that I would be a mess, and I couldn’t break down like that yet again in front of a room of people I mostly did not know. Not right now.
My heart was aching from guilt, of not responding to his last text, from sadness because I knew I would never hear my friend’s laugh again, and from loneliness because I couldn’t even turn to the man I was in love with for comfort. I stared down at my dry hands as black permanent marker seeped into the road map of lines on my fingers, reminiscence of the word “OK” smiling back at me.