I approached the checkout and set my basket on the tray. The cashier greeted me with a smile and “how’s your day going so far?”
“Bit of a gut punch, to be honest,” I replied, putting on a brave face.
“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that,” he said, turning around and ringing a bell.
I tapped my card on the reader through bleary eyes as a bouquet of flowers suddenly appeared on the counter next to my bag of groceries. And that’s how I ended up bawling in a Trader Joe’s.
20 minutes later, after I’d put strawberries, spinach and chicken thighs in the refrigerator at home, I found a sturdy red vase for the flowers. As I ran water into it, I thought about all the tears I’d cried these past several months and how this period in my life mirrored the time six years earlier, after my ex’s death and Perry had left. The voice in my head said, “please tell me this is my rock bottom.” Just then, the vase slipped from my hands and broke.
I stood there, crying and laughing at the same time.
Earlier in the week, my intuitive coach worked with me to release some energetic love blocks. As we spoke, I told her about my ex dying and Perry leaving, and my tangled mass of ambiguous loss and compound grief.
I told her that, of every man I’d ever dated, Perry had felt the best — warm, fun, generous and supportive. She tuned in for a brief read of his energy and told me if I reached out to him via email, he’d likely reply.
The thing is, I had emailed Perry — probably as many times as years had passed, but always in that vague, door’s open manner, like a photo with “This popped up in my memories and made me smile.” Sometimes I tried timed my outreach to when my horoscope said doors were open to past love or second chances. And in nearly six years, I’d never received a response. As if that wasn’t already clear enough (I am one to beat a dead horse, evidently), I found myself once again drafting a message — this time with a direct request to let me buy him a cup of tea or glass of wine next time he was in town on business. I said I’d love to catch up and learn whether there might have been something I’d said or done wrong that I might learn from, so as not to fuck up the next great thing. I released any expectation of hearing back.
So it was a surprise to find an email waiting in my messages this morning. It read:
“I hope you had a peaceful new year and that you and your family are well. I’ve been busy with work and recently re-married and am very happy. I wouldn’t take it as you having done anything wrong; it was a transition in my life.”
I took a big, deep breath as I read it and the knowing settled in. I whisked off a quick reply of “Congratulations! I wish you every happiness.” A finality came over me and, with it, a flood of emotions: grief, sadness, loss, heartache, longing, loneliness, “it’s not fair!” and many more.
I applied waterproof mascara between the tears and left for my appointment, stifling the deep, heaving sobs from my belly. My client was understanding of my vulnerability, and appreciated my showing up.
After, I stopped at the grocery store intending to stock up and allow myself to hunker at home with ALL the feelings. And that is when I found myself sobbing at the check out.