April 27, 2008
By Cristina Masson, Houston, TX

This is the beginning.
These are the first hellos
that you never imagined
surmounting to more.
This is the first date,
where nervousness flourishes,
but undiscovered feelings are exposed.
This is the first family dinner,
where introductions are forced
and impressions matter.
This is the first time
you tell your best friends you can’t,
because you already have plans
with him.
This is the first time
you sneak out
to spend disapproved
time together.
This is the first time you fell in love.

This is the middle.
The unmatched comfort
with this one person who is your other half.
The middle, where
you’ve run out of new ideas
to occupy your evenings
because you’ve done them all.
These are the books
between bookends,
where family meals are frequent,
and weekends reserved for him.
This is where he
makes you laugh like
no one else can.
These are the inside jokes.
These are the good times.

And this is the end.
This is the hardest month of your life.
The silent phone,
the lingering pictures
that you mean to take down.
This is still feeling,
still loving,
once the title has disappeared.
This is the awkward conversation
with family and friends
about the split.
The denial,
then bitter acceptance,
and the long road to changing
life as you’ve known it.
This is regaining independence,
and remembering who you were
and who you are now.
This is the end of one,
with the hope of another.

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