I once stood in the path of a stampede. Of teenagers, not cattle. After one too many fights broke out at a poorly planned school dance, I decided to shut it down. Chaos ensued: vandalism, violence.

As I stood in the parking lot during the aftermath, I felt overwhelmed, drained, and very small.

I feel that way again. Like I don’t know how to do my job. Like I don’t know where to begin.

What to do or what to believe

For the last several weeks, I have been in exile. Not voluntary, though as time has gone on, I have grown to value the aloneness and the silence. Ever since I got home from Nashville, I have not spoken to Soldier. It’s been strange, to make a huge understatement, because he was someone I used to talk daily during the awful winter(and that had nothing to do with cold weather or rain), someone I professed my love to in the spring, and, for all intents and purposes, despite the two thousand and three hundred plus miles between us, the man in my life for a few months.

After my mind crumbled into shards, I was left to put my life back together. In that time, my circle of friends has proven to be loyal and sincere, putting in hours of phone calls, text messages, and visits as I grappled with losing Soldier and facing my new diagnosis. I know now that my friends are true, that I am never alone, that I am loved and lovable. But losing Soldier, if only temporarily, has caused me great pain. There isn’t a day I do not think of him. There are very few days I do not cry.

He has not shut me out completely. He answers text messages now and then. He has agreed that I can write him letters. For the most part, I have felt like a ghost. I have felt like I stopped existing to him the minute we hung up the phone that July night, when the harvest moon sadly watched.

Friday night, I was high as a kite, still bubbling over with glee after watching Avenue Q,having braved my recent injuries to trudge Frankenstein style into a BART train and into the City, which still fills me with such joy. I was icing my battered limbs when my phone chimed. “Who in the hell would text message me at midnight? That’d be hella funny if it was Soldier.” So many times I had wished he would think of me in the early morning, like he used to do so many months ago. Then I checked the phone and read his message. My stomach dropped several stories. I cried bitterly for about five minutes. I wiped my tears, thanked Mama Mary and Jesus, and went to sleep.

Does my heart, hopeful and strong, know the truth?

More truth

I have a lot to say but not enough strength to say it. In church today, I was the lector. As always, I had to read aloud the Prayers of the Faithful. The third intercession was
“For our enemies, that they may know the way of peace, we pray to the Lord.”

And I do, every morning, every night, every time I’m in church, which is more than a once a week these days. I pray and pray that I won’t have an enemy. I pray for peace.

words won’t suffice

Not now anyway. Feeling exhilirated, exhausted, ecstatic. As I chill during a layover in Hotlanta, I wish I could put in writing everything I’m feeling and thinking. My trip to Nashville was amazing, though even that word can’t truly capture my experience. The right words will rise to the surface, in a few days. I keep thinking of Diana Ross’ “Love Hangover” or Loleatta Holloway’s “Love Sensation.” But even those songs, giddy as they are and I feel, can’t do justice.
So I sigh with happiness.