she was fierce, she was strong, she wasn’t simple. she was crazy and sometimes she barely slept. she always had something to say. she had flaws and that was ok. and when she was down, she got right back up. she was a beast in her own way, but one idea described her best. she was unstoppable and she took anything she wanted with a smile.

r.m. drake

Hold On When You Get Love And Let Go When You Give It - Stars

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She came home to the mountains so that she could heal.

She sat at the beach to find solace in the sunshine, but instead she thought about how they had walked this way together and watched the water for a little while.

So she left the beach and wandered up the hill and past the restaurant they had sat in together. Another baggage bomb exploded in her mind. 

"That’s what I call it — a baggage bomb," he had explained, after she had told him what she had learned about her mother, sitting in the dark nook.

She wandered past her old apartment and thought of his car parked there in the pouring rain. 

She biked through her neighbourhood and raced past the pale blue house with the wallpaper birds. 

The face in the monstrous pink painting from Bali that hung in their kitchen haunted her, with its full lips and almond eyes. 

If she could take away one thing, after all was said and done, she would take that house away from her memories. 

She would erase the grey sofa from her memory. She would press pause on the Sugar album he had played for her. She would take the Pearl Jam tour posters off the wall.

She would shatter the chandelier that hung over the reclaimed wood dining table. She would tear the pages out of his books about The Who. 

She would leave her little pile of shredded cider bottle label on the table next to the sofa, trail it up the stairs, scatter it over the pristine white counters. 

She would knock the heavy porcelain white horse bust off the table. She would drag the bikes off the walls in the garage.

She would drag the bodies out of the cupboards they joked he was hiding. She would leave the single orchid.

She would take her purse from where she had hung it on the bannisters, tear away her pink rain jacket from where he had hung it in the front closet and she would run. And she would never look back.

She needed to write, drawing the venom out of her heart and onto the page so she could be free. 

"I’m the kind of person who believes you can have feelings for more than one person at the same time," he stated matter-of-factly, but also entreatingly.

She studied his unshaven face. He suddenly looked old to her, sitting across the picnic table in the afternoon sun. His grey Manbot shirt looked worn-in, and his eyes looked tired. Goddamn Pearl Jam, she thought.

And for once, she recoiled at the way he smelled, acrid and every day. 

"What?" he demanded a little tersely as she began to laugh. 

"Nothing. I agree with you," she said out loud. But that doesn’t work if your partner doesn’t know, she added to herself.

But it wasn’t her problem any more, anyways. This was the end, as it should be. Their slow, circling dance of death was coming to a close, and she was relieved that he wasn’t hers. 

He waited for her to say something.

"No, I do agree. I don’t think any one person can be everything to another," she answered truthfully. 

His shoulders relaxed, but he still seemed anxious. She knew — as ever — that they were on stolen time. She needed him to feel uncomfortable, she needed him off-balance so she could ask him the things she needed to. 

He was still rattled from the phone call. You could have seriously fucked up my life. 

"Are you fucking kidding me? Calling me at home at midnight? What is wrong with you? Are you trying to fuck up my life? This is your first and last warning never to pull that again."

The text was seared into her memory, and she had thought it would be the last. 

"You’ve got some nerve. You’re doing that well enough on your own," she had replied, shocked and angered. But sure enough, he wrote to her again in the morning, saying he still wanted to talk.

"I don’t think we can ever be just friends," she finally said quietly, remembering the hurt she felt with a heaviness that weighed her every moment down.

He stared into the distance in silence. 

She had to leave Toronto because every city block reminded her of him. 

His face reflected in the glass, his smell in the morning filling her senses as she walked past the particular soapiness of the Ritz Carlton every day, the crisp purple of the Shangri-La and the perfunctory greyness of the Sheraton.

She could never quite figure out what he smelled like. She only knew that it was her favourite smell. He smelled of tea-tree oil and airplanes, once.

She nestled into his neck and inhaled. He smelled like everything and nothing. The way you smell drives me crazy, she laughed, breathing softly onto him. He rolled his eyes at her and smiled. 

She could never figure out what colour his eyes were either. They stared at her with a hunger and intensity that embarrassed her sometimes, watching every emotion that flickered across her face.

I need to see your face, he would say, leaning in to kiss her. 

She had to look away sometimes, so he wouldn’t swallow her whole.

So instead he took her piece by piece until she melted into the cool summer nights and forgot who she was. 

By the river Piedra I sat down and wept. There is a legend that everything that falls into the waters of this river—leaves, insects, the feathers of birds—is transformed into the rocks that make the riverbed. If only I could tear out my heart and hurl it into the current, then my pain and longing would be over, and I could finally forget.

By the River Piedra I sat down and wept. The winter air chills the tears on my cheeks, and my tears fall into the cold waters that course past me. Somewhere, this river joins another, then another, until—far from my heart and sight—all of them merge with the sea.

May my tears run just as far, that my love might never know that one day I cried for him. May my tears run just as far, that I might forget the River Piedra, the monastery, the church in the Pyrenees, the mists, and the paths we walked together.

I shall forget the roads, the mountains, and the fields of my dreams—the dreams that will never come true.

I remember my “magic moment”—that instant when a “yes” or a “no” can change one’s life forever. It seems so long ago now. It is hard to believe that it was only last week that I had found my love once again, and then lost him.

I am writing this story on the bank of the River Piedra. My hands are freezing, my legs are numb, and every minute I want to stop.

"Seek to live. Remembrance is for the old," he said.

Perhaps love makes us old before our time—or young, if youth has passed. But how can I not recall those moments? That is why I write—to try to turn sadness into longing, solitude into remembrance. So that when I finish telling myself the story, I can toss it into the Piedra. That’s what the woman who has given me shelter told me to do. Only then—in the words of one of the saints—will the water extinguish what the flames have written.

By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept ~ Paulo Coelho

The light from the street streams in from the crack in the curtain of the hotel room. 

She can’t sleep so she lays her hot forehead against his cool shoulder.

He doesn’t stir, so she watches him sleep for a little while - his hands folded against his chest as if in prayer, repenting for his sins. Repenting for her. 

She thinks about the woman whose place she is taking for the night. She wonders if the woman is asleep yet in the house they share together, comfortable and warm.

It’s too hot in this room and she kicks away the duvet covers. He opens his eyes, looks down at her in the darkness and settles back into his pillow. 

The morning will be harder, when they hold each other sleepily before putting their clothes back on. Before going back to their lives. 

She sees his face in the mornings. The cocky, happy smile is gone, replaced with a guilt that breaks her heart. 

Yeah, okay so #imissedafew