We are facing each other — bald head, brown eyes, and truth against my check. He smells like my soap and nice cologne.
I wear sweat pants, a floral headscarf, and a scowl. I brace myself for a response to the question I’ve just asked:
“Was that her car you used to drive to my house?”
He leans against exposed brick and tells me how he cheated. Boyfriend Zero. The first man I ever dated, confessed that, in the end, he may have two-timed me.
Technically, he admits he drove ‘her’ car to ‘my’ house. And technically, we’d broken up, so in his mind, it didn’t count. But lies don’t need a title to be counted as sins, so I fill in all the judgements myself.
I ask questions; he spits answers.
“What are you feeling?” He asks after silence.
“I don’t know.”
I take old feelings out of storage, iron them, patch the holes, and I wear them like they’re new. I’ve grown. Rage doesn’t fit. The anger is too tight. This confession is five years overdue.
Boyfriend Zero is cleaning up our past, but sadness lingers. I won’t lie.
See, his confession opens floodgates, and every relationship I’d ever had spreads out in front of me like one never-ending tale. Over the least 10 years, heartache has been spiritual practice, and I’m tired. It’s time to change my religion.
I want to be mad at him, but I’m exhausted.
We order chicken wraps and watch a movie instead.
There are nuances to forgiveness that I have yet to master, but the more I meditate, the quieter I become. I’m learning to feel without narrative. I’m learning to feel without acting out against the pain. I’m learning to be present with myself in the way I’ve prayed for a partners to be with me. I’m becoming the man of my own dreams.
I’m learning to fill my own voids.
And what I know for sure is this: at the base of every feeling, there is peace. If you fumble through the drama, if you keep groping in the dark, eventually you’ll hit your own peace.
So whatever you are facing, whatever past you must confront, I pray you find the peace and wisdom lurking underneath the pain. Beyond the drama, it lies waiting for you to touch it.
I promise, sit with yourself, you’ll find it there.
And so it is.