He was no bigger than her hand and just four weeks old, too young to be properly weaned. She chose him for his rambunctiousness – and for his pink nose that was entirely too big for his face and made her smile. She swaddled him in an old towel, flipped him unwillingly on his back and coaxed the bottle between his tiny, razor-sharp kitten teeth. “How could anyone be so heartless as to drown a litter of helpless kittens,” she thought as her new companion settled into slurping the milky formula. She had wanted a kitten for months, but her boyfriend had convinced her to wait until he moved in. Well, that wasn’t going to happen now, but at least she had the kitten – more dependable than any long-distance romance. They would save each other.
Love is a battle, love is a war; love is a growing up.
~ James Arthur Baldwin
I crossed enemy lines this weekend, into his city. I camouflaged myself and my vehicle and infiltrated through a back road. I kept low to the ground and out of sight, glancing over my shoulder, on my mission to the boutique store downtown, needing to pick up supplies. I returned to my homeland, escaping back over the border undetected, but not nearly unscathed. The maudlin minefields were everywhere and they blew me into pieces as I rounded every corner and stopped at every street light, the memories of our time in this city still too fresh in my mind – breakfast there (boom!), dinner here (boom!) and the bar where we first kissed across the street (boom! boom! boom!).
It has been almost six months since the cease-fire and my desire, really, is to become a veteran of this damn war. I don’t want to lament the breakup longer than we were together. I want to get on with my life, ending the shell-shock. I thought I was ready, that I could walk the streets we walked along together and not feel the pain. I was wrong, again.
The wounds may be scarring over, but I’m afraid there’s shrapnel embedded beneath my skin forever – so that, when I take a step or move just so, that little twinge of pain will eternally make me wince. Soon, I will stop mentioning it, putting on my courageous face for friends and family, but the slight spasm of discomfort will always be there, silently reminding me of the wounds I’ve suffered – and diminishing me just a little.
“Lastly, I hope you will get some answers from XXX – just a crappy way to deliver a breakup. You are such a fantastic person, beautiful inside and out – he is a fool to think there is anything more or different out there. It will be his MAJOR loss in the end. Idiot!!!”