Please heal my heart wherever it needs healing.
It was a simple prayer,
not the kind you’d expect to have lightning bolts thrown at.
Nor the kind that begs for mercy
or the end to some horrific experience
that no being should ever be subject to.
It was just a simple prayer
quietly whispered into the space
of a languid afternoon.
There were no witnesses to this request,
not even the raised ear of a dog to note its mention.
Nor was this prayer a dwelling place,
like the one shouted daily to the heavens that began with
“Please God” and ended with “send me my soulmate”.
This was more like a slip of a prayer,
briefly stated before it fell off the prayer pile,
only to be quickly forgotten about.
And here it was,
just one week later,
when she inquired: “Do you like Vietnamese food?”
Was Vietnamese food my friend or pho?
It didn’t matter.
“I just have to take you to this restaurant.”
And off we sped in a moldy Subaru that was never meant
to hold people whose legs are longer than ski poles.
The Goddess of Parking Spaces was too busy to heed our call.
10 minutes of circling the block later,
we found the only parking place left
in all of San Francisco.
New discovery: Vietnamese food equals 30 different ways to cook fish guts. Fortunately, there was one non-fish dish I could stomach.
As I gulped down the last bite of this non-fish dish,
my companion was already heading toward the exit.
Why the hurry?
Tip tossed down,
I raced to catch up with her outside.
I swung the door open.
And there stood a man.
Facing me straight on.
Who was this man?
An advertiser from my magazine?
Someone I’d met at a conference?
My mind raced like a ticker tape
to put the stranger in context.
Wait a minute. Those eyes.
Holy shit! I know those eyes.
I’d slept with those eyes.
Eleven years ago and 3500 miles across the country,
I’d loved those eyes
and the man who wore them.
It was Brian, the greatest love of my life,
the man who had asked me to marry him,
the man who I was supposed to grow old with,
the same man who shattered my dreams into tiny splinters
dotted with the furtive longings of unmet expectations.
Here he was, 11 years later, on the opposite coast,
in the doorway of a Vietnamese restaurant,
and only a week after I’d gently asked to
heal my heart with whoever I needed to heal it with.
We spoke for ten minutes.
“You know, I was just scared,” he said.
And there it was,
the reason Mr. Heartbreak
had guillotined our relationship that Thanksgiving,
the week after my 28th birthday.
And here it was,
the closure I’d needed for 11 years
had finally happened.
My prayer had been answered.
And that was it.
Brian drifted off into the life that was his to experience.
And my friend whisked me away in the moldy Subaru.
At 28, he had been my one true love,
my consistent refuge from the gnarly edges of life.
Now at 40, he was merely a shadow who just happened to know my name.
You know, life doesn’t always play out the way you imagine.
Hearts break and sometimes they never come back together again.
But if a prayer half-forgotten can be answered,
in spite of 11 years and 3500 miles,
perhaps next time,
I will whisper a different prayer.