She rested her back against the tub, watching the steam from the water carry its way past the flames of the candles. Here, she liked her body. Her legs almost seemed sultry with the water foaming into small beads against her skin.
She grabbed her phone and made her way to the website. She felt her chest tighten when she saw the face of one who hurt her so long ago. She hadn't visited the profile in awhile but now, in the midst of therapy, she felt an urgency in moving forward. As if she were looking for some sort of hint - an explanation tied to memory.
She almost missed the note. Tucked between an update and some pictures, it wasn't obvious. Something about it caught her eye and she scrolled back up, noticing the To my Lost Love subject line.
"huh." she thought, intrigued.
She read through it, her heart quickening as she realized the subject of the note wasn't some long lost lover. It was her. She was the lost love.
Immediately she went through the list of family who probably saw the note - saw the plea for added strength in order to make things right - saw the title of lost love and thought nothing of the implications.
"How nice!" They probably thought - frowning at the lack of grace she exhibited and clucking tongues at the continued silence.
Closing her eyes, she fought for a breath.
One. Two. Three.
Memories came rushing back - of hands in shirts and unwanted kisses. Of special trips and uneasy questions. Of avoidance and horrible feelings that have no words.
How does one find words for what happened when vocabulary was a blur?
The body holds tight to the nameless, she knew that now. She knew it in the sudden fear, the way she startled awake, the way the anger crept up unbidden or the way tears came suddenly and without warning.
How does one deal with that monster? The nameless thing creeping up for no other reason than how our skin holds touch for ages.
She drew in a shaky breath and took a screen shot of the note. Months later, as she finally began processing, she'd thank herself for this simple act of retribution. The note would be deleted from the profile and she'd question whether she even saw it.
But she had the evidence. The twisted view of a love gone terribly wrong. The note meant as a final means of manipulation when the hurried emails and voicemails were left unanswered.
Sinking deeper into the water, she placed her phone on the side of the tub and let the warmth take over.
Washing, not drowning, someone had told her once of those moments where things felt overwhelming. Bringing her hand above the water line, she watched as the flames danced across the glistening shadows.
The note mentioned that she was prayed for - that there was a hope for strength and peace - even strength to open up the lines of communication again. And while it still twisted her stomach to think about being in the same room as this person, she knew the prayers were being answered in their own way.
She had the strength to stand up for herself. She possessed a peace of knowing - of nothing shaking the memories she kept tight in her heart - memories that everyone else seemed to casually forget.
She heard the bathroom door open and turned her head, meeting the gaze of the one who knows her best - the one who's touch brought a scathing sort of healing. He smiled at her and whispered a hello. Reaching out her hand, she knew the most important piece of strength was falling into place :: the peace of embracing love fully and without fear.