I am sitting at the Caribou coffee in Iowa City. Half of me feels this sense of relief, like I am home, because for six years I lived here. The other half of me is squirming. This metaphorical itch that I just keep scratching until I’m a bloody (quite literally) mess. There is a solid sense of pain in my chest. This is the first time I have been back since Jonathan and I broke up. This was OUR home. This is where we met, fell in love, and for me, where the first fractures of our relationship began to happen. This town encompasses everything about that relationship. I feel somewhat a masochist for sitting here, for looking around and remembering Burrito Thursdays and how every weekend Jonathan would take me to the mall when he knew boredom was setting in. I was recently at the Target because the dumbass named I forgot sandals. As I was leaving I saw a couple walk from the Best Buy to the Target, and it was like a floodgate crumbled beneath the pressure of being here and the tears came swift and steady. We used to walk like that. Hand in hand, joking, laughing. Now when I think of Jonathan, my heart is heavy and I find it hard to smile. Not because there were not good times (there were so many), but because I still miss him.
I was thinking earlier that there is no romantic interest in him. I do want to cultivate a relationship, but I want the friendship. I want to laugh with him again and not have it be tainted by the immense hurt we inflicted on one another. I know, somewhere deep within these emotional pools, there is the ability, the potential, for a friendship. I just am not sure I am strong enough to swim against the current yet. There are still moments where the anger, the pain, the fear, the hurt erupt in me. But it has gotten better. So much better.
I was listening to a lot of music on the way out here, and one song in particular has been on repeat, Chris Broach’s “How Well You Know Me.” There is a moment in the song where he sings, “how can you know me if I don’t even know me, myself?” I feel that lyric. I feel it in my heart, in my chest, in the image I see reflected in the mirror. This experience has allowed me to begin again, to find out who I am and who I will be. But the pure chaos and fear involved in self-discovery sometimes waylays me. I am too emotionally and mentally exhausted to move forward, to open up my mind and heart to something new. A little over a week ago there was the carpe diem/Jonsi weekend. It was the miraculous event where I followed instinct and not thought and had unbelievably pure moments. Things, since that weekend, have been moving forward, have been positive. And I tell myself, every morning, that things will continue to be positive. The next option, the next motivation, is to merge my relationship with Jonathan into the mix. I will not give myself up to him again. I will not lose who I was or who I thought I was for him, but I do want to join him into my life as a friend and close confidant knowing who I am before all else. And it will happen. It just make take some time.