The first month is leaving. The exact number of steps between going and gone. Fear. Blinds cracked open at the same height in every room. Your panic when you hear a car outside your window. The urgency with which you change your number and the locks.
The second month is waiting. Coffee pot frozen mid-pour. Calm after the storm. That brief hesitation while you second guess any move you make. Itchy, restless skin. The doorway you find yourself lingering in even after the porch light has burned out.
The third month is mourning. Screaming at an empty room. Grief. Four weeks of unwashed hair and unwashed dishes. Your shaky hands. Hot Cheetos and tequila for dinner 5 nights in a row. Our ghost lingering close enough to hear it’s echo.
The fourth month is forcing. Laughter feigned through bright red lips. Every eye at the bar on you. Staying out until 2:00am on a Tuesday night. Your lack of apologies. The salt of someone else’s skin against your mouth. An insatiable appetite for everything that isn’t him.
The fifth month is leveling. Police reports spread out like a timeline across your bedroom floor. Simply the facts. An entire graveyard exhumed. Elephant in the room that you’re sick and tired of tiptoeing around. Being brave enough to break your own heart.
The sixth month is deciding. Asking “What next?” instead of “Why?” Forward motion. “Want something more,” repeated as a mantra every time you hear his name. Relapse prevention. Your life as malleable as playdough in your hands. Choosing to be whole.
Jennifer Silva is a 26 year old mother of 4 girls. She doesn’t stay in one place for very long, but when the streets aren’t calling her name, she works as a housekeeper in a hotel.