How I say I am leaving and you mumble I’ll see you soon, and how with your eyes still closed you miss the way I shake my head, no.
Nine months ago I wrote a piece called I know you don’t watch me walk away. To quote Adele, this one was me kind of on my knees, really. I was taking an honest and painful look at the ending of a great love (and a great folly). This was me writing my way out of the pain.
The human heart may be slow to learn, but it makes its decisions in moments. The piece was about that split second where you understand that you have to move, that you have to get up and walk away – even when it means leaving your love behind. And it was about accepting that some people will let you go. That there are a thousand ways to surrender.
A few months back I know you don’t watch me walk away took on a little life of its own. People started to share it across the web, and some began to tell me their stories – to say that they knew this moment, that they had been here too. Every reader with their own little bruises, people from all over the world with hearts and sleeves that were damaged. Heartache is indeed a universal – and the response to I know you don’t watch me walk away has shown me that we’re never, ever truly alone in this.
And now my dear friend Jo has created a visual essay to capture what I felt all those months ago; we worked together on the photo shoot, but the art is hers alone and I am thrilled to present it here. The word emotion comes from a Latin root that means to move through or out and this is what Jo has grasped so beautifully – the hesitance, the deliberation, the looking back … and ultimately the moment she walks away.
When she puts one wobbly foot in front of the other on a midnight street. Because she feels far too much to stay.
I wanted to tell you, readers – it’s worth it.
It is my 35th birthday and I will not cry. One wobbly foot in front of the other on this midnight street, I walk away.