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The Rebounds

We are rebounding together. We are learning how to fall, how to trust, how to rebuild after what we thought was the end. We are bound together through the unbinding. They have names. Increasingly insignificant names. Yet, their faces are still clear in our memories. But their bodies are distant. The curve of your back is more familiar than his. The touch of my leg is nearer than hers. We might sleep together to forget them. Or we might sleep together to grow closer to each other. I think you know I think of him. I know you think of her. I try to control it, to feel a sense of power I embarrassingly lost in it all.

I can’t help but count the months since. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. Since I decided to leave. Since I moved into another house to escape ours. Since my heart broke for the first time. May 3rd. Or May 4th? No May 3rd. Definitely May 3rd, I think. 

Sometimes I can’t remember. And sometimes I do, then force myself to forget. It’s hard to forget that date, but it is easy to forget you. Because the person I fell for doesn’t exist. Not really. The man I fell in love with turned out to be a boy. A boy whose face I didn’t recognize at that moment. The moment I opened your bedroom door and saw, for the first time, who you really were. You were good at hiding it, but I was better at ignoring it. When I think of you now all I can remember is that room. Our room. The room we never left, and the room I would’ve stayed in forever with you. Shelves filled with trinkets and books you never read. Your nightstand had a tissue box shaped like a little house. I liked it. I wanted to order one. You gave me your heated blanket because you knew I’d be cold without you. You had notebooks full of blank pages because your ideas, and thoughts, and true emotions lingered in your mind and your mind alone. Never to be shared with anyone else. One weekend you left one of your two pillows in a hotel room in a bed probably shared with someone else. Someone skinnier, and prettier. You replaced the pillow you left just for me. Or maybe for me and her. Or me and her and her. Or me and her and her and her. Blondes? Your ex. The “slut.” The “whore.” You called her. A red flag my rose colored glasses overlooked. Who I was becoming because of you was not someone I was proud of. Or even recognized. 

Art by Lola Estok

I blame your charm. I wonder who you’re charming now, and how you’ll end it with them. Are you texting them everyday? 24/7? Who replaced me? Your new “R”? There’s a whole pack of us. Forever tied to a false spell. And maybe there’s the silver lining in it all. The sisterhood. Because we all have a You. You aren’t special, or unique. You are, in fact, utterly common. And I am not. That’s why you’re still thinking about me. My laugh, my sarcasm, and my charm, which far surpassed yours. You will never meet someone like me ever again and I know it. You’ll find someone weaker. Another addition to the pack. She’ll last longer than the rest of us. But, in the end, she’ll join us. And you’ll be left alone.

310...80 310... 310.. 31..

31.. 3. 3?

A phone number I used to know by heart has disappeared instantly. Just like me. Not in fragments. But completely and suddenly. And though I still count the months, I know one day I won’t. One day I’ll see you and I won’t know how much time has passed. Years? Decades? I’ll see you and smile. I’ll smile because the one person who felt like they took everything from me actually gave me back something I’ll never let go of again: myself. It might be in front of Joan’s on Third, or at The Grove. Definitely in LA. I’ll politely ask about Mike, and Nick, and Josh, and Danny. Maybe even Hannah. You won’t know who or what to ask about because you never really knew, did you? There will be a grand sense of indifference that will deafen you. A face I used to long for will look like another random stranger in the crowd. I’ll laugh when you make a joke. I’ll make one back. And then I’ll say goodbye. And that will be that.

Art by Lola Estok

These days I’m learning a new number. And I like this number. Area code 505. Very satisfying. This number helps forget the old. But, how beautiful it is rebinding with someone who is also unbinding from someone. Maybe rebounding is exactly what both of us needed from each other. Maybe that's why we found each other. I actually like being a rebound because I have the privilege of reminding you how much you deserve to be loved, and wanted. And you, in turn, are doing the exact same for me. I don’t think either one of us knew how much we needed it. And we are giving it to each other. How extraordinarily beautiful. A symbiotic rebound relationship. That’s the label. The answer to the inevitable “what are we?”

If you leave tomorrow. If I leave tomorrow. I hope you know the gift you’ve given me. And recognize the gift I’ve given you in return. Just a couple of rebounds. Two broken, hurt, sad rebounds. Molding back into the people they once were. Different. Stronger and healthier. Because of each other, not in spite of each other.

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