The First Moment of Impact
Your chest is tight, you feel as if there is an insurmountable weight placed on your body and you can't stomach the thought of moving from where you lay. The idea of tomorrow feels like an exit you passed twenty miles ago, you know you need to turn around to get back to where you should be going but instead you barrel into the unknown.
A moment of impact, in short, feels like this.
In twenty-three years, I have experienced three moments of impact, where an irreversible shift left me fixating on loss without much direction on what to do next. Though with reflection, that is the beauty of these moments.
The first moment of impact is one that I regret, without a doubt, because it was the one I gave the most power to. Heartbreak comes in many forms, but this was heartbreak in the truest sense.
It was an ordinary night, and the only person I have ever given my all to, turned to me as Wet Hot American Summer was playing in the background and with teary eyes said, "I don't love you and I don't know if I ever loved you."
Meanwhile, I'm stuffing my face with a veggie tray and beer we had just purchased after moving apartments all day. Not what you would expect to be doing while someone is simultaneously breaking your heart.
After stumbling over a couple sentences, I confidently rose from the couch, or so I thought; the narrative in my head seemed to play out a little differently than reflected in my actions. Opening the door to excuse the man who, I'm pretty sure, was the first to break my heart, I blacked out. Clutching the doorknob white-knuckled, everything went dark.
I came to on my bed with a worried look on his face staring back at me, one that I used to feel a kick in my heart for. If this were any other time, I'd be reaching to stroke his tousled hair while wondering what I ever did to deserve a man who loved me like he did. This was the person who I thought would never give up on me.
It didn't make any sense to me then as to why he decided to call it quits. But his worried look soon turned distant, and I knew then there was nothing left to be said. It was as I was pulling myself together to walk him to the door I realized I had no control over what was to happen next.
The days that followed were incomparable to anything I've ever felt. That first moment of impact was the worst, but it was the first, and it was the one that changed the course of my life when I was the most impressionable.
I can point back to this moment and say, "then... everything changed." A blessing in disguise, but one that doesn't come without consequences.