There's this internet meme going around: "Adele got me missin a man I ain't even dated". This song is killer. I'm 6 months or so out of my painful breakup, 6 relatively silent months and hearing this song still sent me for a loop. Don't misunderstand: I've got a great guy that I adore with everything I have, someone who really loves me and the boys and who is able to really be here. That's not even scratching the surface on him or my relationship with him and why it works and why the one with Boston didn't. And maybe people believe you should take your new life and your new love and never look back. I know people who can do that. And maybe if Boston had been less of a man, less of my life, less of the pieces I eventually used to piece myself whole, I could do it, too. I learned a lot about myself breaking up with someone I loved so much. I learned I don't let go of certain things, I can't just wash away my story with him and not have parts that haunt me, parts that still course through my veins like life-blood and visceral proof of just who I am. And that's okay. In losing myself in him, I found myself and got out of a terrible marriage where I was so unhappy I ached every single day. And I know D understands: He can see the ghosts and shadows that cross my face when I look East or put on my Boston hoodie. Falling in love with Boston was so much more than just falling for a man. It was pieces of recognizing what I deserved and learning the strength to ask for it. It was pieces of learning to love a city, this small town little country bumpkin, a city I will always love. It was learning new interests and rekindling old interests and laughter and tears and more laughter through the tears. And then it was just tears and "I already miss you" and running again, trying to run the pain from my heart, gasping with exertion and begging for a break in the misery. And it came, it always comes. I will love him for an eternity, I will grieve for our loss forever, I will grieve for the relationship only a finite period of time, I believe. I can't say I know for sure yet, because I'm still mourning. In addition to being the greatest man and love I had ever known, he was my very best friend. A person I let into places of myself I don't even let my own head wander. Was he perfect? No. Was our love perfect? HAH, not even close. But for a while we loved each other perfectly.
My counselor asked me the other day why I hadn't written the ending to Nebraska + Boston: A love story I didn't know what to tell him. I just started crying instead. And I've been tangled up in my brain ever since. It feels like betrayal to him, not to give it an ending, a proper ending, the ending we deserved instead of the ending we got. So I opened it up this morning and I laughed thinking about how I would talk to him until 4 a.m. and I would giggle because I was so nervous because oh.mah.gawd.that Boston accent, and he thought it was so cute and he would message me from work telling me he had to quit staying up so late but then that night, we'd be doing the same thing. That was the beginning and the beginning was princes and fairy tales and who's going to save the princess? It took losing him to realize I was never a princess in distress, just a queen who could slay those who crossed her if she needed to.
I hold my head proud now. I know what it's like to ride through Hell and slay the demons. Demons whose bloody blow-back stains my face and makes for war paint for the next battle. I know I can survive anything. I became stronger because I had to. The trick is learning to love myself again.
So, hello from the other side. I must've called a thousand times....
*All of the above written content is written by Erica Holtry 2015, not available for other use*