Matter of the Heart

Three months. Were they three long months? Or three short months?

No matter how one describes it, it has been the equivalent of three months since I last posted. And in a way, it seems like yesterday. And in another, it was a lifetime ago.

I noted on May 5 that I would be taking a one week hiatus from this blog to seek solace in the mountains of Puerto Rico.

Three months ago today I was packing faded yoga clothes, colorful bathing suits, books, notepads, and my laptop into a bag — excited to get away, and yet jarred by a tinge of trepidation gnawing like a puppy at my toes as I contemplated what grounding I sought … and might just find.

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My little cabana at Casa Grande overlooked a verdant green mountain rising into the heavens — clouds and mist floating like hot breaths kissing a cold winter’s morning in Upstate New York.

What I didn’t know then, as I pondered where my life was heading and how I would once and for all give up smoking on the top of that mountain, was that my life was about to change.

Drastically.

Within three weeks of returning stateside, I was a role-less character in a recycled script I thought long ago thrown into a drawer: mulling a decision to take a job in a new city and facing the fact that my marriage was ultimately over. The why was clear. Had been clear for quite sometime. The when and how became a mere matter of the heart.

After having found my breath (and what a beautiful, crisp, fresh breath it was!) in Utuado, I went in search of that long-lost friend, always lurking around the corner deli, and within a matter of days, became, once again, a full-pack-a-day-smoker.

I accepted the job, and with a cigarette clenched between my teeth, I set about packing up a portion of my home. My life. Two of my three dogs. And the vacant memories yellowed like nicotine stains.

It’s been five weeks now. My boxes unpacked. My walls painted. My dogs seemingly content. My job begun.

And my heart … well. It’s yet to catch up to the tumultuous nature of my so-called life.

I awoke last night, thinking I was having a heart attack. Lightning charges pulsated around its two halves as if trying to crack it like a walnut.

I recognized the sensation, stumbled down the carpeted staircase, wrapped my fingers around a cigarette, and smoked in the dark at my desk. The blue haze swirled above my head, spotlighted by an amber street lamp hiding the moon from view.

I might have been frightened. I might have been anxious. I might have been panicked.

But at 3:33 am, as my dogs lay sleeping, my old friend was there, comforting me softly in the night.

And for that I was grateful.