Clean Breaks

It’s late. I have a thousand things to do. I don’t really have time to dwell on the past. But that’s the funny thing about being human – we have precious little control over anything at all. Maybe that’s why we try so hard to find or make that control for ourselves.


I enjoy clean breaks. They’re events, huge and catastrophic and capable of derailing the course of one’s life. But that giant mass of pain, that huge upheaval? It gives way to something merciful – numbness. Clean breaks are contained, with all the mess in this one giant heap that you can ball up and chuck into your past. Clean breaks are the easiest to heal from. If I ever had the luxury of picking how my life was going to splinter, I’d pick a clean break. Who wouldn’t?

Recently, I had the pleasure of experiencing what I thought was a clean break. It was shocking. It hurt like hell. But within a few days, it was over. I thought I was going to have my time to lick my wounds and heal – thought that I’d emerge with a scar and new lessons.

Instead, here I am at ten thirty at night, far in the future from the event in question and still smarting. It still stings and that sting isn’t fading. This wasn’t a clean break. Nope, this was the kind that leaves splinters and needs a long, drawn out operation to fully fix.

And there’s no guarantee of 100% healing with this one. In fact, I can’t seem to shake the feeling that poking this wound is going to leave me even more battered, even more broken than I was the first time. So what now?

I could resign myself to being wrapped in strings. I could wait patiently for them to wither and rot and finally, ever so slowly, die all by themselves. Or, I could perform that surgery and hope and pray that I make things better not worse. Either way, pain lies ahead. All I get to do is pick the better of two truly awful options.

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