Emotion swallowed me into the whale’s stomach tonight. It swirled me around ragging waters and devastating storms. All the pieces of my body felt like they were crumbling, cracking, smashing to the ground like a fragile mirror – a mirror I kept looking in this past week. And I had searched every inch of every hair, and line and gain. I asked the girl in the mirror how she’d gotten so lost, so far from home.
The girl that stared back at me didn’t have an answer. In fact, she ignored the question all together and told a story. A story that turned into five stories, turned into ten stories, turned into twenty. She knew names and birthdays and favorite drinks for breakfast. She knew other people’s relationships and quirks and failings and gains. She could probably explain the way the world spins on its axis and she could tell a killer love story.
But the girl I looked at in the mirror? She, herself was broken. A hundred tiny pieces, a billion tiny tears. They slipped out in car rides and beneath sunglasses. They slipped out in waiting rooms and at coffee shops. More nights than one they poured over her cheeks like a waterfall and sounds escaped her lips even her own ears didn’t want to hear.
So I stood unevenly on the inside of the whale’s belly and I contemplated all these things – the way the Earth moves, the way hearts break, the way I felt so desperately alone. My mind wandered to an ex-boyfriend – the one you always long for when you want to be held – and for a split second I missed him.
Life is a game of holding on and letting go, staying and going, loving and leaving. It doesn’t care if we have to go home alone at night or mask our true emotions every time we walk out the front door. It doesn’t care if we get thrown into the belly of a whale or are drowned in a pile of tears.
But most of all when the people around us loose any indication that we are gasping for air, or reaching out for a hand – thats when the waves come. That’s when we go back to the mirror and a stranger stares us back in the face. And that stranger tells someone else’s story because they’ve already lost their own.