Read to save yourself

Vulnerability is my superpower.

from The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy

Today I read The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse. It was just what I needed. Brave and comforting, wise and simple. A hand reaching out for my hand, it resonated deeply. It found me the way books have this uncanny way of doing; like they know it’s time. They know you need them even if you don’t know what you need.

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” asked the mole.
“Kind,” said the boy.

It can be so hard not to feel sorry for yourself when the world is happy to cry with you. Letting go is a life skill I am struggling to know like the back of my hand. It’s useful, not only in love. But everywhere. I look at my mother and force myself to memorise her face, her voice, the way her face crinkles up when she’s tickled, the cackle of her laughter, her absurdities. I will have to let her go one day too. Then there are things we possess and feel pride over. One natural disaster and it’s gone. One commercial calamity and I can kiss my life goodbye. Buddha was not pissing about when he said attachment is not cool. It is not cool.

Once I met someone. She was nothing I ever imagined I would love or could love me back. Like a backbreaking accident, she happened to me in the blink of an eye. Like an amputation, she was gone before I could say, please, or don’t. How does it matter, and what does it count for – please and don’t cannot bring pause to endings.

Now I sit with my head in my hands and ask myself over and over – how did this happen? How did I not stop myself knowing this had no future. Why didn’t I pay more attention to the signs? Why, why, how, why. God does not answer. His silence tells me. Sabr. Shukr. Patience and gratitude, Wait. Be thankful. This could be worse. You could have lost your mind. “But I did almost…” I interrupt, “It is only your heart.”

How much lower does rock bottom go? Do you even want to know? No. No, I do not.

Sabr. Shukr.

These chilled nights are giving my breath back to me. Breath that was taken away by beauty I could not hope to replicate with language. Beauty that made my lungs collapse. And ultimately, left me for dead.

“She has her own story, and I am not a character in that story. Just like this is my story. And she is very much a part of this story.”

Let’s stay here a little while longer. My home, its couch, its large open windows, the insistent wind and the solid perpetuity of books await me.

I remain.

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