Tell me what it’s like.
Does it get better with time?
I pause and wonder what to say.
Can I give her an honest answer?
That it won’t..in some ways.
That heartbreak hurts as much at 30 as it does at 20.
That you never quite get used to the pain of letting go, no matter how often you’ve done it….though you might learn the lesson of numbness.
That love and cheating and tenderness and passion will continue to turn up unanticipated…and unwelcome, no matter how clear your vision stays.
That eventually dreams will become the last survival tactic for those who don’t have God or Family or FairyTales anymore.
No, I decide, I can’t tell her all of that. I can’t paint the next decade in a pall of gloom before it’s even arrived.
So I take a deep breath and say instead…
What does change is all the things in your head.
With the pain, there will be the aspirin of reality,
a little snapshot of the last time that grows clearer with time,
the knowledge that you survived that and so this you will too.
With time, other people’s opinions
will start to matter less than your own
or at least you’ll be able to pick and choose what you want to believe.
And if you’re smart…and I know you are,
you’ll have a Plan B or at the very least…an exit route.
So I end without lies, telling her the truth…but perhaps not all of it.
And I wish there were some lessons one didn’t need to learn.
*Dedicated to a very young and wonderful friend who asked the question. I hope she’s reading…or perhaps I hope she isn’t.