A box full of darkness

A box full of darkness

Someone I loved
once gave me
a box full of darkness.

It took me years
to understand
that this, too,
was a gift.

—Mary Oliver


Darkness has finally fallen.

I seek refuge in a cigarette in the cool quiet of night. Tendrils of smoke circle my head. Sorrow crusts my lashes. The lulling cricket song can’t calm my churning thoughts.

Me leaving him. Him leaving me. My heart is shattered.

I look to the Star Goddess for comfort, but a veil of wildfire smoke hides her domain, shrouding the sky in an impassive curtain of lavender-gray. Against this backdrop a full moon hangs, bright orange and swollen—a reminder of the coming harvest, and how far away I’ll be by then.

Her face grins down at me like a jack-o-lantern, like I’m the butt of some cosmic joke. Her edge is sharp tonight; I’m still bleeding. Can it cut these thick soul-ties for good? They keep growing back when I’m not looking. I need help letting go.

Astrologers tell me this Pisces moon invites me to dream and heal. They say post-ecliptic changes are brewing. They say the messenger will bring new understanding to the swirl of confusion that has been my life these past weeks. They say I’m not the same anymore, and I hope it’s true. Because I’ve been insane for months, doing the same thing over and over hoping for different results. I don’t want to be insane anymore.

I never understood how two people could love each other this much and not make it work. I guess that’s a lesson I needed to learn. Just because someone loves you doesn’t mean they’re willing to do the work. Sometimes the best you can hope for is someone who knows your song. The song that reminds you who you are instead of bulldozing your truth. The song that lulls your demons to sleep instead of whipping them into a frenzy.

He doesn’t know my song. He doesn’t want to learn.

Sometimes relationships are like walking in a snowstorm. No landmarks, no signposts. Only blinding white all around. Close your eyes for even a second and you lose sight of where you are, where you’re headed, and what’s even real. Sometimes you end up wandering in circles, thinking your own footprints are leading you to safety.

I was looking for a soul mate, but I met my match instead.

I’m leaving this place. The cards tell me I’m doing the right thing. But my resolve wavers. The siren call of love keeps luring me onto its jagged rocks. I’ve always prided myself on being a fast learner. It’s embarrassing how long it’s taken.

It’s possible I am pushing through solid rock
in flintlike layers, as the ore lies, alone;
I am such a long way in I see no way through,

and no space: everything is close to my face,
and everything close to my face is stone.

—Rainer Maria Rilke

All I know is I’m tired of hurting. I’m tired of being weak. I’m tired of falling down rabbit holes and getting lost in someone else’s wonderland. I’m tired of being the crazy one, the too-emotional one, the always-at-fault one. I’m tired of struggling under the weight of my share and being told I should carry it all. I’m tired of thinking maybe he’s right.

It’s not right.

Samhain is coming—the gateway to a new cycle. I will step through it. I will try to be brave. I will try to be strong again. I will try to be happy again. I will go someplace where my needs matter. I will create a safe space for myself.

Tonight, I ask the moon to slice these ties that tug at my heart. Love is a tricky thing, a jester who wears many masks. Sometimes it’s a skin you have to shed. Sometimes it’s a box full of darkness.

And darkness has finally fallen.

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