“Is he taking good care of my Ruby?” she asks over lunch. I smile big, blush. Tell her about my support network. How I’ve started to reach out. How people have been asking me how I’m doing lately and I’ve been telling them.
Spent the week selling myself at job interviews and to potential roommates. Threw my hands in the air when I landed the apartment in Green Lake. Sent a text to notify my partner and best friends when my first job offer came in.
My feet finally under me. I’m coming home again.
We decide what we want to sculpt. Take a step back and examine it all. What is it that we want from each other? From ourselves. Start building a life with all the pieces we selected carefully. Leave nothing to just fall into place. This is all intentional.
While we walk down the street he reaches over and grabs my hand. Laces fingers. Pulls me closer to him and kisses my cheek. Partners. Support. We stare off in the same direction. We lean hard on each other and we take turns being the weaker one. Know when it’s our time to be strong. Give and take. We’re a team.
Mark tells me I don’t need to come to therapy anymore. That we don’t have much to talk about. We’re just hanging out. And I start to sink into the idea that this isn’t just an upswing. This is sustainable. I’ve learned how to be okay.
Back at lunch we reminisce about last year. When I had to leave my job. The city. When everything started to crumble, fall down. And we smile big and shake our heads. It feels so long ago now. So far away. It’s the quiet shadow of a memory. Alive only because we talk about it every now and then. And I’m never going back there. Wouldn’t even remember my way. This is normal. This is me. I am safe.
Photo courtesy of Joel Herzog.