There he is, standing on the steps of some Parisian building — that guy who broke my heart two years ago. It’s a photo from last month, outside of a runway show I actually attended. I’m currently sitting on my sofa, minding my own business, researching street style photography for work. And then BAM! He’s in my living room, burning on the screen of my MacBook Pro. Given his position, this happens to me often, only this time his hand is wrapped around somebody else’s, a new series of tattoos spread on the space between his knuckles. My brain struggles to reconcile the obvious: Michael James is dating someone else.
In the age of the Internet, a lot of emotional damage can be done from the comfort of your own couch. Google, Facebook, Instagram: these are platforms waiting for the opportunity to destroy you. I sit, soaking it in, as though I am in kindergarten and the mean kid has just informed me that there is no such thing as Santa Claus, that the presents under my tree came from the Fallbrook Mall and not the North Pole. It is an inevitable, crushing blow, one necessary for growing up, being an adult, moving on.
I feel myself drawing tears like an oilrig.
I breathe in, feeling a stew of conflicted emotions, because I knew this was inevitable, but had secretly hoped that it wasn’t. It is, at the same time, both death and rebirth. Before I start falling into that old, familiar pit, I go to Bikram yoga, my new drug of choice.
The heat of the room swallows everything: your thoughts, your worries, your bad day. It burns through it, flushes it out with sweat. For half of class, I am fine, focused on the standing series. There is no room for Michael James. But thirty minutes in, he starts creeping in, an insidious draft.
Pressing into the ground, arms and head in cobra pose, I feel myself drawing tears like an oilrig. Down and up, churning a history of hurt, that toxic and unrefined substance that keeps bubbling up in the most unexpected of places. The heat and the sweat cannot stifle the fact that I feel mightily sorry for myself for having to bear this old, splintering cross.
But then, my body now twisted into some new impossible shape, I think about how everyone in this horrible room has been hurt at one point or another, spent many nights struggling to breathe. In that moment, I hear all the hearts in all of time shatter like china plates across a kitchen floor, the stray, pointed shards flying away from one another like exploding fireworks, the dullest kaleidoscope. We stand above the damage and, eventually, reach down to pick up the pieces. One by one, bit by bit, until we’ve done the best we can to clean up the mess.
Inevitably, there’s always something missed, some fragment hiding in a dark corner, in a crack in the floor, on a Japanese style blog.– Jenny Bahn