Like muscles breaking down from intensive exercise, our partnership aches as it grows stronger. So, too, the fibers of Us pull apart and back together, each struggling to find enough slack to tug, to challenge, but never to pull the other over the line. Eyes full of hurt, leading to raspy throats filled with anger, to tears of sadness, to regretful self-doubt; the isolation of shame. Eventually we end up in bed, silent and together, but somehow so far apart and so alone.
The tired frustration runs rampant through my mind as I attempt sleep. A dull, constant aching underlying all my ruminating thoughts and I listen as you drift off beside me. The cat curled by my feet matches the cadence of your snores, nearby a fan is blowing softly, a nighttime of white noise is filling our mock studio apartment.
Moments of joy still find their way to us as we navigate this hazy new territory with no maps and little guidance. But each new challenge presents us with fear, vulnerability, and occasional failure. Attempts to speak from a place of love, respect, and trust are well-intentioned but often feel implausible.
The air is cool and I wrap myself in a sheet and handmade quilt, and despite your back to me I turn to face you, to hear the soft breaths escaping your lips as you finally allow yourself some comfort. With a slow exhale I remember that forgiveness is not condonation of hurtful actions, but a reminder that it’s okay to move on, when ready. And, I think, you’re someone for whom it is worth it to move on, when ready. We will rest, forgive, struggle, and together, we will grow strong.