There was a picture of an avocado dangling between chop sticks on the wall behind me. Everything was neon green, like seaweed. When my food came, my plate was decorated with two small tacos and a side of tater-tots. The waiter brought out fortune cookies afterwards, and I didn’t get it. My mother had been asking me to try the taqueria out with her for months now, and I’d blown it off. Because the random Mexican-meets-Asian mashup restaurant was where she and her dad used to go on dates, and she broke your heart.
As I sat across from my mother at our underwater themed table and I took my first bite and liked it, I was so angry with myself.
This is what I’ve been missing out on?
Because while you spent your Friday nights at his house having such a good time that he had to cut you off; while you sped through the back roads of this messed up town with her in your passenger seat after I’d sat across you in a Wendy’s and told you everything she’d said about me; while you woke up at his house in a blur with a burning throat and dizzy head; while you spent your days working beside him and your nights smoking our favorite cigars with him even after you’d admitted to me that the only reason he invited you to that first party was so that you could tell me all about it in hopes that it might hurt me– even after everything, I still hadn’t been able to bring myself to eat at this stupid place just because she liked it, and she had ruined you.
My tears had felt warm against my cheek compared to the cold tiles of the bathroom floor that I pressed my face against that night I told my mother I had decided I’d never been in love. I had asked her to tell me how she knew, how she could go to parties and point across the room at my dad and say, “Him, I’m going to marry him.” How could you be so sure of something that you’d let it dictate your life? Because all my attempts at love had made me sure of was that I was far from irresistible; I was sure that people didn’t fight for each other; I was sure that people didn’t tear themselves apart in order to sew the other one up when they were bleeding out.
So while I ate my tiny tacos and tots, I was angry. I was angry with her for breaking you and I was angry with you for breaking me. And I was angry with myself for sitting in a boy’s Mercedes one night and letting him promise me a fairy tale only to have him single-handedly shatter my every idea I had believed about love; to have you follow in behind him and validate every new idea I’d concocted about the brutality of loving someone.
I don’t believe that earth shaking miracles are a regular part of every day life. But I’m rather fond of the subtle eureka moments. You know, the kind you get when you’re driving down the highway trying to get home and something you weren’t even wondering about sways you into understanding and you get to quietly laugh at it’s beauty and obviousness and be so humbly proud of it?
Well my precious eureka moment that I wanted to hug so close to me while I drove home from the Latin-Asian kitchen was a new hope that quietly gutted me: in all the time and all the space and all the tears and all the silence and all the wondering if you thought of me at all, I wished you well. More than that, I wished you were happy. And even as I write the words and admit them to the world for the first time, I’m wishing that you are working beside him, smiling; I’m wishing that she makes you laugh one of those deep, bellowing laughs from the pit of your stomach; I’m wishing that you have found a way to sleep again. Because even though I may still have crooked shards stuck beneath my fingernails from all the times I attempted to pick up the broken pieces of my heart, I so wish for your joy.
And maybe someday someone who knows us will read these words and sit you down and you will read them, too. And maybe you’ll sit on the edge of your seat waiting for me to get to the part where I tell you about this eureka moment that I’ve held on to so desperately.
My hope: every broken piece of me wishing you will feel whole again, even if it’s not by my side– well maybe I wasn’t as wrong about love as I thought.