…and in the beginning..
The beginning was really the end. Or the end was the beginning. You know what I mean. It’s like the chicken and the egg. No one actually cares which came first. Or, at least no one I’ve ever known. It’s just one of those things. That’s it. A thing. The beginning is the end. That’s a thing. I could give you all of the heartbreaking, sordid details but that’s a story for another day. Maybe. A glass or two of wine, combined with a bad day and I’ll be telling you all about the time that I beat up Derrek Washington on the playground in the fourth grade for shoving me and ripping my brand-new stirrup pants. The dirty details don’t matter but the lessons you learn along the way stay with you. Yes. I remember his name. Yes. I’m still mad he tore my stirrup pants. And yes, I’d punch him again, 30 years later. Do I feel bad about that? A little. He was just a boy with a crush on a girl and boys have been taught since the beginning of time that the way to get a girl to notice you is to pick on her.
It’s too bad about that, really. You see, those boys grow up to be men. Men who don’t know how to love. Before you start throwing things at me, let me clarify. There is love and there is love. One is emotion and the other is an action. We are all capable of feeling love but not all of us are capable of loving someone. We were never taught how to LOVE. People who grow into adulthood without ever being taught how to love wind up in relationships that are often held together by the tears and prayers of the one who does know how to love. This person is often faced with the impossible task of trying to love enough for the both of them. These are the relationships, that from the outside looking in, you’re shocked and appalled when you find out that they “didn’t make it.” You know the couple I’m talking about. They just popped into your head as you read that. They were married for fifteen, sometimes twenty, or more years and it happens suddenly. It sends everyone’s world into a tailspin. This couple has been a part of your life for as long as you can remember and they’ve touched so many lives as a couple, it’s impossible for you to even conceive that one has suddenly become two.
One of those two people in the coupledom also never saw the end coming. When you don’t know how to love, the worst thing you can do to another human being is to find someone who does, in abundance, without reservation, and then use them up. They will hold you both up and love you both until then can no longer stand. They will drop to their knees and struggle to carry you both, until they can no longer withstand the weight. Eventually, they will fall. They will drop you. When they finally struggle to their knees, you will realize that you have been left alone. Your other half just walked away with all of the pieces of you that you don’t know how to carry because you never tried.
That is the beginning of the end. Or the end of the beginning. My beginning began slowly, creeping into the cracks of my busted-up heart and unmotivated soul. Before, apathy had settled itself upon me like a shroud. It choked me in my sleep and smirked at me with every fleeting thought of visiting an art gallery or reading a book of poetry or writing a single line of prose. I was shut down by my own lethargy and it was no longer the cousin of ignorance but instead its interchangeable counterpart. “I don’t know,” and “I don’t care,” no longer carried any distinct significance between the two. I allowed the walls of my prison to shrink me down until I was too big to fit in the box. I was trapped. Until I wasn’t. I awoke slowly, angrily. Claws bared and fangs dripping venom. The beginning of the end was an ugly thing. A time of confusion, rage, fear of the unknown. It was a time of self-preservation.
The end of the beginning came abruptly, without warning. The proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. I fell to my knees and struggled to stand. Without him. I took a step, and then another, and another. Without him. I watched the rage and confusion overtake him and I choked on my own guilt and fear. I took a step towards him and then I stopped. I turned and walked on. Without him. The beginning of the end crept into my life like a thief but the end of the beginning overtook me like a storm. It ripped me asunder and scattered me to the four winds.
And then I began. And in the beginning…
L.E. is a recently divorced mother of two who basically never finished a damn thing in her life. She writes because she must, it stills the unquenchable thirst of the demons inside of her. She shares it with others so that it may feed theirs. When she’s not battling her demons, she’s out among the living earning one, as a supervisor for a road construction company, informally called paint striping (not to be confused with stripping because that would be weird).