Still

I had another meltdown last night.

The kind which leaves my abs hurting from sobbing so much and trying to control it so my sisters don’t hear it and get worried. The kind that makes me rub my open, sweaty palms against my legs, shaking my head and telling myself to stop it. The kind that makes my hands clench into fists, then uncurl as I gain a shred of control over myself.

I called her. She didn’t answer. She was FaceTiming her friend; I remembered. I messaged her, and asked her to call me when she could.

I called him. He picked up. He asked me if he could call me back; he was speaking with his dad. I said yes.

I waited. Tears poured down my face and I waited. My brain was telling me things that weren’t true; telling me to do things I shouldn’t do; telling me to say things I shouldn’t say. I rocked back and forth, shook my head, rubbed my thighs. It wouldn’t stop. No matter how much I rebuked my brain, it wouldn’t stop.

My phone rang, and it was her.

She told me there were so many people that would miss me if I was gone. That I am so strong, and I am not worthless, and I didn’t deserve anything that happened to me. She said that maybe sleep would help, so I lied and told her I was going to go to sleep.

Then he called.

He didn’t say much. He just listened and didn’t get upset and didn’t get scared and stayed silent until I was calm again.

Sometimes I wish I could love him again, but no matter how hard I try, I can’t. Not in the same way.

Today, I gave her the gift I got her for Valentine’s Day. I told her it was for her un-birthday, but really, it was for Valentine’s Day. It was a sweatshirt she really liked. I wrote a note to her, and it made her tear up. I saw it in her eyes — she teared up. Then, she hugged me.

We went out to eat breakfast, and she was saying something about working a night shift and making her own chicken tenders with crushed-up Hot Cheetos, and I said that it wouldn’t happen on my shift, and she said I was lame, and I lowered my head and said, “Yeah, you’re right,” and then she put her hand on my hands and looked in my eyes and said

“Hey. No. You’re not lame. I was just messing. You’re not lame.”

I didn’t really think about that moment until I was on my way to school. When I did, I started crying again.

I know she loves me. I know she does. I know she likes to joke about things, and I’m learning to trust her, even when she jokes about having “5 dates in a row.” I’m learning to trust her, even when she doesn’t speak to me for a few days to clear her head. I’m learning to trust her, because she’s been making more than a reasonable effort to show me that I can.

In these moments, I forget that she has spent three months not making up her mind. I forget that she agonizes over the unrequited affection she feels for another girl. I forget how I felt when I found out the things she’s done.

I’m getting better. I need to remember that sometimes getting better looks like getting worse.

He told me to decide how much time to spend apart from her, at first. I asked him to ask Jesus about what to do. It was hard for me to hear Jesus at the time because my brain was screaming at me.

“I think I’m supposed to not do anything.”

He paused. “That’s actually what I was going to say. Give her the gift tomorrow, and just be still.”

I did, and I’m glad I did. It was torture, but I’m glad I did it.

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