Before you go

by Kat

I don’t have a metaphor for this leaving, not yet. In the space between two ordinary chairs, there are stories.

Two more meetings, then a hand-off. But this is not a relay race, and I am not a baton. Lately this space has felt like a series of I don’t knows. Trying to describe a blankness, a lack of feelings. Lack of words. Lack of understanding. Lack of me.

What are you thinking? I don’t know — when my body is here and brain feels far away, not fully awake. Sometimes I wonder if the knowing matters. But I keep coming back. You need more scaffolding, she said. A few more months, and then you’ll go. And I’ll stay here. Never hearing the ending, but imagining for you.

This talking through is hard when I can’t explain. When I’m never fully present. Can you hope enough for both of us?

I didn’t want you to feel abandoned. But you need more — different — than I can give you. A more frequent dialogue. For this girl on a deadline.

I think you’ll like her. I’ve heard this several times, from the women who listen to my stories — my confusion — my pain.

Sometimes I wonder if we’re stuck, and I am moving on. But that’s not it either. Almost 4 years of witnessing this becoming. This fear of getting stuck. This anxiety, this depression. This fear that I am not enough to outlast the oncoming storm.

I am packing up my stories and moving to another room. Of unknowns and someone else’s process, hoping not to get swept away. Wondering if she will see this backstory.

How hard I’ve worked to stay floating in the rising waters.

She is helping me pack. Don’t forget your raincoat and galoshes. I am taking the metaphors with me. The stories and the rejoicing peasants.

I am going. She is staying here. As my life is expanding slowly.

Thank you doesn’t feel like enough. For pushing me just a little bit further. For watching, listening, being with. In this becoming. In the wondering how I will get through.

For the not knowing and the you can name yourself. This is not fixing or even changing. This is seeing into an adulthood she doesn’t recognize yet.

When I feel fragile and lost, it is memory-keeping. I am learning to hold onto this secret hope, believing in a process when the product seems uncertain.

Two more meetings to send me off. I’ve given you all that I can. Now it’s time to go somewhere new. New skills. New stories. I send you off knowing the believing yourself will come.

Even if it’s at the end of this story. This chapter is filled with footnotes. With she did it anyways. I want you to remind yourself when I can’t.

Because you are brave and resilient, even on the days when this feels like pointless suffering.

I wanted her to be proud of me. Maybe she is. This abstraction sitting across from me. I will carry her hope with me — the fertilizer and watering in the driest months.

Thank you for the ground — as I bring the sunlight — maybe that’s too big a task. Emotional nuance does not bend easily in the presence of metaphors.

Sometimes not giving up looks like continuing on, into the next story.

I look forward to its telling. In sprouts of words.