Letter To My Younger Self by Mary Sherman

Such a brave young woman you were, walking down Belmont Avenue in Chicago at 3am in the morning. It was a work night as I recall, the hour was late and you’d have to be getting up soon for work. Lying in some kind of junior twin bed, nearly falling off, hanging on the edge. You were there, lying next to someone who you could have loved, only you knew they couldn’t love you back. They loved another, which was so often the case for you. And you knew, in your DNA, that you weren’t one way or another way, but all ways, in every way. And, you knew, you were going to begin again.
Earlier that night you held hands and snuggled and it felt so good to be held and you’d thought, “Yes, I could do this.” And then lying there, balanced on the edge of the mattress, it really came like a flash of lightening. (isn’t that a form of courage too?) A flash, a realization, an understanding. You thought, “If this person isn’t able to be with me, what am I doing here? I need to leave. It’s too late – you thought. It’s not safe- you thought. What will the other think-me-leaving like that in the middle of the night without saying good-bye?”
And then Mary, you just did it. You silently and effortlessly glided yourself off the junior twin mattress. You pulled on your jeans and bra and shirt all the while looking at the sleeping one making sure they wouldn’t wake up. You took one last look and opened the bedroom door, tip toeing across the oak wooden floors to the front door, and silently unbolting the dead lock and out into the quiet of the early morning.
You walked fast with intention. There was no fear, simply the knowledge that you could no longer stay where you were. And the next day at work, you saw this friend, this potential lover and they made no mention of waking up and finding you gone.
And, you knew.

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