I get the splinter out of my finger.
I’ve gotten good at breaking up with things, which is to say I’ve grown skilled at letting a thing so thoroughly run its course that in the end that thing and I pull apart at our most worried spot without too much resistance. In this manner I’ve quit everything from gym memberships to religion, piano and guitar lessons, my marriage, writing (twice), the idea of ever returning to work in books and also, most recently, my thirties.
Here is how I make my exit: First, I collect what matters most. Then, I assess the remaining debris of what has passed and say “I cannot” or “I will not carry you”. Finally, I pull the door shut on a silence where there should be a voice asking me not to go.
Here are the things I gain and lose: Optimism. Belief. Sorrow. The opportunity to make amends. The desire to move forward. Comfort. Discomfort. A really soft t-shirt I used to sleep in. My ability to think clearly. A cat.
What has all this leaving left me but a child, a stack of advance readers copies and a hope, beyond experience and rooted in an abandoned faith, that all that has transpired has mass and weight. So that some day, like a tired and old American spiritual song, I can give myself permission to finally lay my burden down.