Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
By Hannah Howard

I don’t want to eat. My stomach is sour, bowling ball heavy, and loving food feels not so much wrong as absurd, a foreign memory, like kissing the spot above his temple, like his fingers intertwined in mine.

Thank God I have a roommate now, and that my best friend Urs is staying with me for a few days amidst traveling the world. I sob to them, nearly puking tears. I can’t breathe.

They feed me glasses of water and tissues and rub my back and say, “Oh, sweetie.”

I know better than to wear makeup. I cry on the subway, I cry in kickboxing class, I cry when writing copy about local seafood for work. Urs takes us to get massages, and I can’t stop crying. The massage guy keeps asking “Too hard?” and I keep saying, through sniffly tears, “No, perfect.”

My friends save my life. The boys tell me: “he’s a jerk, he’s an idiot” except for Matt, who says “You are so beautiful and strong! Now write your book.”

The girls offer more analysis. You had a nagging feeling. He has never been in a relationship before. He doesn’t know how. His heart is hidden under lots of brick walls, with tiny windows nearly impossible to climb through without scraping yourself up.

 

Mine is the opposite: brickless, naked.

 

I ride the bus with Erin and the sun shines wildly. Central Park is the brightest green, the color of possibility

 

At some point, I will have to eat something. I feel sick. There is a war going on in my stomach, and I am losing.

 

Urs gets us the only thing I want to eat, fro-yo from 16 Handles, which is fantastically smooth and sweet. I sprinkle rainbow sprinkles. She also buys a bottle of bubbly, to toast to new beginnings.

 

The next day, I am getting hungry. I go to a barbecue on a rooftop and the sunset is wild, like egg yolks thrown from the sky. There is a breeze and burgers and grilled corn, which get stuck in my teeth, and it’s hard for me to understand how I can have both a broken heart and the need to floss. I receive many, many hugs.

 

Last night, my girlfriends go out for sushi. We order hot sake, even though it’s a million degrees outside. It tastes like rubbing alcohol spiked with perfume. We toast promiscuously. I feel buzzy, and sad, and hopeful. They keep spewing kind, wonderful words. They are kind, wonderful people.

I want to throw up, still, but I don’t. I haven’t cried yet today. New York is hot and still out my window. I make myself breakfast: strawberries, Greek yogurt, plenty of sticky honey. And soon, I will have some lunch.

 

Today, tomorrow, the next day…I am broken-hearted. But soon I will heal, and fall will come, and apple season, and I will bake something apple-y and laugh too loud and my heart will be full and strong and alive.

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