Being honest with myself right now - the only reason I’m writing is because I really do not need to take a nap this late in the day and the wifi on this plane won’t be working until we’re stateside.
So I packed up and ran away to somewhere I’d never been before for five days. Vieques, PR is beautiful in a country ass way. Lots of vegetation, water (duh), beaches, restaurants. A few gas stations and Jeep rental companies. Some gift shops and a post office. Spotty cell service and spotty wifi. So on paper, it was perfect for me.
But almost as soon as I got there I felt like I was going through heartbreak all over again. I didn't consider that pretty much everybody travels with family, friends, or a boo. It was really rough to see couples around the island all the time, knowing that I would be going to every beach trip and outing by myself. That first night I was ready to go right back home. My hotel is top-rated on the island but also had mosquitos and random bugs creeping around at all hours of the day and night. The bed was large and comfortable and made me think about how his strong arms should have been wrapped around me, holding me while we listened to nature and the sea and fell asleep in love. I woke up the next morning and dove right into tincture and weed tea and the caribbean, hoping the saltwater would dry out my melancholy.
I rented a Jeep (license plate 420. WHAT ARE THE ODDS?!) when I realized that although the island is only about 20 miles around it was nearly impossible to walk comfortably thanks to the wild grass and mountains of horse shit in the street and random dogs lying in wait on the side of the road. I bought four cans of OFF and stuck a beach chair in the trunk of the Jeep, packed a cooler, and went to eight beaches in two days. I snapchatted my way through the trip when cell service would cooperate. I hiked through an actual jungle to find a black sand beach and was so enamored that I went back the next day and packed a portable bar soap container as full as I could. I told myself I was strong and brave. That I could do this. I thought I was following a trail to the ocean but ended up so deep in the wilderness that the paved road turned to gravel, then dirt, then mud. I drove up the small mountains looking for a scuba business and scared myself to death on the narrow roads paving the way. I had margaritas on the beach and at dinner and at lunch. I slept whenever I could and cried every day with the weight of missing him. I broke down and called him, drunk, and we stayed on the phone for over two hours while I cried even more and listened to him apologize, again. For everything, again. Emotionally it felt like a big step backwards, but maybe I needed to be in Vieques to let all that shit go.
I set my camera’s self timer and had a photoshoot during the golden hour right before I went on a tour of the bio bay to watch my fingers turn into night lights. I am fat again, around a size 12/14, and didn’t wear any makeup or comb my hair but still felt beautiful. Looked at the photos again after I posted them and they don’t look as nice now as they did when I took them, but it’s too late to delete them now.
I cried and cried and cried. I went to the only restaurant open past 10p and sat at the bar and cried until a group of black girls recognized me and I had to pull my shit together. They paid my tab and I had to try really hard not to start crying again. Whenever i was alone I let the tears roll over and over. I let out big angry sobs. I let the grief rock my body back and forth. I told him he’d shattered me and I’d likely never trust anyone romantically again.
The days were always better than the nights. Maybe because the first high of the day is always stronger than the rest and the feeling of transitioning from high to sober really sucks. Which is probably also why I threw so much alcohol in the mix, too. Anything to keep my heart from feeling.
I took a lot of pictures and videos and saved all those ugly ass selfies like I told the kids at Vassar to do. I hugged myself and gave me permission to move on. I squeezed my belly firmly but gently and thanked my body for getting me this far.
I got a lot of fucking mosquito bites. A. LOT.
I told him that I blocked his number and social profiles not because of anything he’s done (other than the blatantly obvious) but to keep myself from contacting him. I’ve noticed that any time I break down and let him talk to me I always end up feeling much worse the next day.
Sundays are hard. It’s been eight Sundays since he strangled me and every one has been hard.
According to all the Googling I’ve been doing, since he and I were together for 8 months I should be over him after the next two. That makes me feel a little better - the idea that I’m halfway through the grieving process. He said that he’s come out to everyone since we split up and is in therapy and has lots of support from his friends, including the cis-het men. And this is truly crazy but it makes me feel better to know he’ll be alright.
I still find myself saying “I miss him” frequently. Sometimes (like right now) that familiar pain bubbles up at the top of my sternum and the tears just float right down my cheeks. It just hurts. I told him, I just hurt. I just hurt.
I trusted him and shouldn’t have. It’s a jagged horse pill to swallow. I loved him and shouldn’t have. I stayed when I knew I shouldn’t have. But I did, at least, learn my lesson.
I listened to a lot of podcasts and ate shrimp mofongo for the first time and bought earrings from local designers. I ate a lot of pizza and an unseasoned fish sandwich and met one smiling dog right there in the bar who I think, no lie, was sent by the universe to make me feel better.
I stepped in horse shit a couple times and swam in beaches all by myself and stared out at the endless water and thought again of how small and insignificant I really am, all things considered. The biobay tour guide told us that there are only six of these bays still on earth and that the oceans are throwing up all the plastic and trash we’ve been tossing into them over the past few decades, and it reminded me that the planet will definitely get rid of humans before humans are able to get rid of it. And then thought about the current state of humanity and decided that probably wouldn’t be so bad.
I missed him so much. Every time someone said “table for one?” or “just one today?” I felt his absence all over again. I thought about how much he’d have loved the water and taking pictures of me and staying high and drunk all day. Then I thought about how we almost certainly would have ended up arguing and angry and remembered that God knows what She is doing in my life.
Fuck, I miss him though. I am so tired of crying.
This trip was a good idea. The people were friendly and warm and kind and blunt. Their faces lit up whenever I complimented the food or scenery. I’m glad I went. Kinda. Exhausted of crying, but glad I went. Everyone says I look at peace. I just want my happiness back.
I filled up the tank in the Jeep for $1.71/gallon and took tiny cessna charter planes to and from the island and used a cash machine with a $4.75 fee and thanked God that my bank has free ATM withdrawals. I did my best to avoid talking to strangers.
I’m angry because he broke my trust in the deepest way and I’m angry because I let him that close to me. i’m angry because I let him into my life and now I miss being held. I miss being touched. I miss being actively loved. I feel lonely a lot and I’m sad because of those things. i hate that I have to build up a rind around my soft human parts all over again. I hate how much I miss him. I hate how often I think about his eyes and the tender way he said I love you. I hate that night and I hate that this happened. I hate that I ever took his number in the first place. I hate that I miss our routine and I hate that this happened in my home. I hate that I miss game nights and date nights and let’s just be washed nights. I hate that I miss doing the laundry with him because he doesn’t mind doing the folding. I hate that I miss hearing his key in the lock. I hate that I was vulnerable with someone who violated that. I hate that I still care. And more than anything else, I really hate crying. I can’t wait to be past the fucking crying.