Bubbling beneath her feet, the cool waters of Lake Michigan rolled on and off the sandy shores. The waters had not always been this cold, but because of the especially cold winter the state of Michigan had made it through, there were still chilly remnants that had lasted into the month of July. The unexpected cold reminded Delia of her own personal winter. She had been through a lot in the elongated winter months that Michigan had thrown her way and most of her experiences had left her feeling cold. Utterly freezing. Her heart had caught a chilling case of hypothermia and she was unsure if it was ever return to its warm, fleshy state.
Not to say the winter months didn’t bring some sights of beauty. In the moments she shared with her heartbreakers, she was filled with hope and warmth. However, those feelings of “love” faded quickly under the shadow of fear and anxiety pressed heavily of Delia’s every bone. She had been given a choice: go back to the man she thought she could love or to move forward, never speaking to him again. Going back as only a friend would be detrimental and would surely end in more pain than she already felt. The ideas of both outcomes swirled around in her mind, just as the sands of the lake swirled as the waves crashed over them. Harder and harder the waters came, the wind picked up its speed; the initial whistle of wind turn to a siren. Delia did not move from her spot in the sand. Despite the weather changing around her, this was one of the only places she felt safe.
Delia had an urging desire to return to the man that made her feel something real, but urges like this could rarely be trusted. They always seemed to come from a place of rash decision making and illogical thinking. Could Delia trust this side of herself? She had attempted to once, a few times actually; needless to say, it had only left her hurting. Sitting on her yellow and pink striped beach towel she got when she was eight years old, she pulled out her phone. Unlocking it, she swiped through her apps to find her notes. Delia was a writer. Writing gave her clarity and peace and that was something she needed now, even if only a drop of clarity was going to come her way. She began to write a poem:
The heart needs no audience
Besides the body it is living within
It takes no regard of the person it controls
And pulls it in any direction it chooses
The heart is a hurricane
Leaving destruction and pain in its wake
Changing directions and motivations
With only the slightest change in the wind
The heart is a criminal
Taking the body as its prisoner
Forcing it to do and say whatever it desires
Never fearing oncoming consequences
The heart is a timed explosive
But the countdown clock is hidden
Leaving the body in constant fear
Of when it might burst into flames
My heart is a cold stone
Unable to support any foundation
Cracking under the weight
Turning to dust at a moments notice
My heart has left me
Leaving a hole in its place
One can see the wind blowing through it
Nothing can fill its gaping presence
Why has my heart betrayed me?
Where has it gone?
When will I know if it will return?
Who wants a girl with a hole instead of a heart?
The heart needs no audience
Only a single body to dominate
To leave wanting more.
The cold of the winter still pressed heavily on Delia’s empty body. She did have moments where the hole inside of her seemed covered and she could pretend as if her heart was full again. Pretending would never last long and when the feelings faded, Delia would simply return into herself, afraid to climb out again. That is why she settled on the idea of being alone. Although she loved the idea of being loved, she had no heart left to share. Until something or someone bigger than any man entered her life and could make her feel whole, the space where her heart once laid would remain void. Without a heart, or maybe just one that was still frozen from the freezing conditions it endured only months before, there was no turning back.
Delia watched the tide turn over and over and over again. I am not going to get stuck in a trap like the tide. The tide has no choice but to repeat its motions over and over and over again. I have a choice, I don’t have to be stuck in a circular motion, even if the motion seems comfortable and momentarily feels like the right thing.
Delia thought she could love the man that claimed to love her. She was wrong; her ignorance made her vulnerable and her vulnerability was taken advantage of. As her poem said, her heart was a betrayer – a hurricane, a criminal, an explosive, a stone. Healing her heart was not going to be an easy fix. But just as it always did, her time by the lake had helped Delia to realize that until her heart thawed from its icy chill, she was not to return to the arms of any man. There was clearly more to life than the idea of love.