Later . . . I’m sort of hollow inside now, from longing, but it’s okay. There’s so much space now, in a place that was clenched tight as a fist before . . . if it echoes a little, I don’t mind. The echoes are what tell me how large I am, how much more I can contain than I’d remembered . . . including a small, not too obtrusive hope, that things will work out.

Shira McClain

A letter to Stacy

I’m looking out of my seventh floor office window, out over Southside, gray cotton piles billowing from the horizon. It looks the same out there as it did yesterday, and six months ago (before this all started), and as it will in a year, when all this is forgotten. The world goes on, no matter what.

But I’m listening to a disc of soundtrack music I made for myself last autumn, slow moody pieces that tend to dredge up nostalgia. It’s the perfect soundtrack for today, a day that floods with memories of beautiful moments, not just with Jessica, but Melissa and you and Maria and a million others. I can’t stop thinking, remembering, feeling — and that’s what I want the most right now, I think, is just a little quiet time for my heart.

I know that I did the right thing, a move that was necessary for me, and for her, too. And I’m bitter, and sad, and somewhat cynical right now, and I know that will pass. And I want to scream at the top of my lungs, to throw anything within reach, to find whoever’s responsible and in charge of this stupid world and pummel him until everything is right and fair and just.

But I know that the world doesn’t work that way. But that doesn’t stop me from being really pissed off about it.

If this were a movie, there’d be a really great third act coming up, where the people that don’t appreciate what they have lose it all and realize the error of their ways, where the people who have been mistreated all their lives find the strength to let people care about them and love them the way they deserve; where the hero gets the girl, the villain has to live with the consequences of his action, and the credits roll over a kiss — a real one, where your heart breaks at the emotion in that moment.

But it’s not a movie. This is life, where heroes and villains hang the same, victims stay victims, and love is just another word to get what you want from people.

The traffic is flowing smoothly today outside my window. The sun’s out now and then, and the trees shift in the wind. And it’s all the same, never changing, completely unaffected by petty bullshit like this.

I just have to remind myself over and over again that this, too, shall pass.

In my dreams, there’s a beautiful place for people like us.