He left me in the night. The sky was black, cloud covered and oppressive. A storm passed through our neighbourhood as I wept, grieving over the loss of my future. He had promised me forever, I had trusted him with my dreams. He took it all away in a suitcase along with his clothes, books and CDs. He left gaps around our home and a cold, painful void in my heart.
I had not seen this coming. I could make no sense of the reasons he gave as I fought against the feelings of loss and betrayal, the unfairness of what had befallen me.
There followed the grey days of late winter as I adjusted to being alone. Wrapped up against the biting wind and the cold I learned to hide my feelings from the world. Just another broken heart; I could not bear to be told, yet again, how I would get over him, how I must move on.
I mourned the life that I had been led to believe I would live. I was angry and aching inside; lightning and thunder followed by downpours, momentary feelings of exhausted release.
The first signs of spring helped to lift my mood. The green leaves unfurling on the shrubs and trees, the flowers emerging from the freshly grown buds offered hope for a new life. As the clothes I wore lessened in weight so too did the resentment and anger. As the pain abated there were moments of happiness, new memories being made that were mine alone.
I watched as mother nature changed her displays. The iridescent blossom came and went, foliage thickening to offer shade from the brightness of the sun. Much admired, soft prettiness followed by substance and a promise of fruit; I thought wistfully of the offspring I had one day hoped to produce. I found the strength to be calm and stoic, gradually learning to live with my solitude.
The heat of the sun grew less intense as a multitude of colourful fruits ripened and fell. Insects and birds feasted on this bounty before it rotted on the ground, abandoned and ignored, returning to nourish the soil as it decayed. I reminded myself that all can have a purpose.
The leaves on the trees put on their final display before covering the ground with crispness and colour, crackling underfoot as I strode out on a woodland walk. I saw him then with his new love, her belly big with the child that she would soon bear him. The rains came again as freshly cold air blew fiercely through my too thin clothes. I unpacked my winter wardrobe to be better prepared.
I ordered wood for the fire, bought books I had long wished to read, searched out films that would distract or feed my mind. In the orange glow of my cosy room I travelled through time and space with my new, imaginary friends.
Should I have gone out more? I was not looking for a replacement. I had already relied too heavily on another to provide fulfilment. What I sought was self sufficiency, to be master of my own destiny, impervious to pain.
People come and go throughout our lives but we must always live with ourselves. I no longer wished to be a shadow, reliant on another’s brightness for my survival. I sought ways to build colour and definition, adding the new dimension that would allow me to break free from the expectations of others. I became a being in my own right, learning how to shine from within.
There remains in my heart a rock that formed to enable me to move on, a hardness that I turn to when I see his child on the pavement, smiling up at her mother so endearingly. She is beautiful, as was he.
Perhaps I should have left this town with its quirks and its characters, its multi coloured life. Why run though, when the pain is inside me. I cannot escape the old memories, lingering in the depths of my soul.
I wrap myself up and protect from within. I can enjoy the scenery, there is no need to conform. Some call me aloof, others mysterious. I am a survivor, damaged then repaired as best I could manage. If my colours are not so bright then I comfort myself that they shine at all. I am as good as I can be.
There is no future in clinging to what might have been. The cycle of life rolls on.