“It’s not me, it’s you,” I whispered as the wind whipped a red tangle of hair around my left ear, punctuating the sentence so that you could feel its weight. Forgive me, but these days my mind often wanders like a teenager at a job she no longer sees as necessary for survival. You are no longer necessary for survival. I was always a fan of cinematic moments effortlessly captured in the day to day of the default world, and I guess giving a breakup monologue atop a cliff in Yosemite beneath a full moon seemed too good to pass up. “I’ve found someone else,” I declared, insistent. “Someone more stable and diverse and with a bigger heart than you could ever possess. I’m breaking up with you to date mountains.”
First off, I am sorry for the severity. To be honest, this isn’t at all what I expected. As I inch towards my 30th birthday without you, I feel the subtle hum of my biological clock ticking to the tune of bigger dreams and more perilous adventures. My friends are smiling their way into domesticity and toddlers at precisely the moment I desire to sell everything and live in a van, powered by eternal wanderlust. The 180 degree shift left even me stunned; one moment I was full steam ahead towards a home and an anything but ordinary marriage with you, and the next, I felt as though an earthquake had sent my world spinning at an impossible momentum.
I was gifted a bucket of gravity in 2016. It splashed across my stomach with an agonizing thud. Things that once seemed far away and abstract like loss and mortality spun themselves into a thick, black quagmire at my feet, rendering me terrified. I have been hammering my heart against its gloaming every day since you left. I am still mending the wings that I will use to fly again, etched in ember and bravery.
It’s funny to see it so clearly now, but the giggle-ridden transfixion that I have bestowed upon California’s peaks and valleys holds every ounce of affection that I might for a new boyfriend. I stay up late most nights daydreaming of when I’ll next run my hands through lakeside cattails or researching what jacket will go best with what my new lover’s weather will be on the weekend. When we have our disagreements, I walk into them knowing full well what I signed up for. A mountain will not hide its storms beneath the surface, and I know in my core that if I smash my fingers against a granite slab, it’s on me.
Dearest, when I walked away, I thought I would sob until my organs seeped through my skin and my chest heaved, hollow and bony. I thought that nothing would ever fill me up because you had met me so exquisitely on every level. But I believe I have found my match in the vast, unflinching wilderness. Its harrowing, kind, and unpretentious nature entices and lacerates my innermost parts. I want to be bruised by deity and made wise by adventure. I want to be swallowed up and baptized in flame.
It was never going to work between us. I needed something big and unassuming that wanted to sweep me up and boggle my mind for days on end. You were never going to let me in the way a forest or a meadow does. I want to crawl into hidden crevasses and howl at the blood moon with my tribe of moss-covered boulders and coyotes. I’m sorry, but my heart is embroidered in the road and the wind now, darling. These days, I’m a basket of exit signs. They all point north.