I saw a friend on Sunday for a walk and a coffee. It was pouring with rain, and we went through five umbrellas in three hours. We caught up, swapped Christmas stories, sipped hot drinks, and she said to me "This is the first time since November that I feel like you're almost completely back to yourself again. It doesn't seem like you're just putting a brave face on. You seem okay again".
And I felt it. After two months, I felt back to myself. World-weary and walls rebuilt (taller than ever) but I felt okay. Strong, even. I was doing totally fine, and feeling great.
And then this morning, I caught a person's eye, and I felt myself fall apart all over again.
I'm going to do my damnedest not to. I've been too busy holding myself together with tape and glue for the last two months to let a passing glance undo me again. But for now, I can feel that hole at the bottom of my sternum reopening. The focus drifting. The memories sinking in.
Allowing that to happen would be the easy option.
But I'm not going to take the easy way out this time.