Break Up Season

By Jordan Hales

Spring is the time to reset, recharge, and reflect as the earth begins to thaw. The birds chirp in twitter-pation. The trees bud at the sign of warmth and sunshine. It’s breakup season. Dirt and rocks and salt and trash galore. Spring is a sign of hope, or it’s supposed to be, anyway. The darkness is enveloped by light. Pushing it back, back, back. Spring is a refresh, or it’s supposed to be, anyway. Spring is a reflection.   

Reflection on everything over the years, not just the past year. January to March is a tricky time. Is? Was? It’s hard to tell—ask me again tomorrow. Memories are not only held in the brain, they’re held in the body. So that panic I sometimes feel, but can’t explain? What is that? Which memory will haunt me today? That March, five-ish years ago… that teenage love sort of thing. And then later that month, thinking I’d lose my best friend for life. Not yet, though. Too soon. Because that was the following March…right? 

Right, because that’s when Covid spread across the earth alongside the budding flowers. Yes, because that was about a month before that awful crash. Almost too cinematic to believe, I know. That awful… awful crash. But at least it was spring, and the ice began to melt, and the wind felt a little bit warmer. Because spring is such a happy time, they say.  

And I think that was right around the time I went to the movie theater. God, what a mess. What movie was it again? It must not have been very good. Because then a week later, Covid spread across the globe just in time for spring! And spring is the best time to recharge, they say. 

And right about eleven months after that… yeah, that was that terrible accident. The one where the town didn’t know what hit ‘em. It still gives me chills and chest pain. It was that “false spring” thing when the snow melts almost too quickly. It melts and then it… it… slides. Slides down, down, down. And it’s kind of like a trap. A terrible, awful, unfair sort of trap. But false spring means real spring is right around the corner. And spring is… I lost track. Yeah, that accident. None of us are the same. It was big. Too big. Too shocking. 

And me? No, I could never look at him the same.   

Which is probably why exactly 13 months later, yet another March, we had that big fight. Because I’d had enough, and he didn’t look or feel the same way he’d always had. And none of it was fair. So, I fought back. But so did he. I forgot who won. Maybe one day I’ll try to remember.  

Anniversary? No, that’s not right. 

Reflection? No, that’s not right either.   

Remembrance? I guess. Because spring makes sure we—or I—always remember every little thing. 

Because trauma is held in the body, no matter if you moved on or stayed put. Mine likes to sit on my chest. On the branches of my lungs. Spring-like tree branches. Spring is all about trees and buds and flowers and the tweet, tweet, tweet. 

Always on repeat. Always. 

Spring is a reminder. Yes, that’s the word. I think that’s why I drag my feet so much this time of year. Maybe why I pick fights. Maybe why at times I feel a little more insecure than normal. Memories are held in the body too, and it’s not always enough to breathe it out. Especially if your memories of this time of year are like mine, and they sit on your lungs. 

But spring is a reset. An inhale, an exhale. A recharge. A melting. A break up. A whirlwind. It’s a reminder. And I swear I’ve moved on and most of those wounds healed and stitched up. But trauma still lives in the body. And stitches break open. 

And there are happy things in spring, too. The Break. Birthdays. Flowers… at the store. March Madness. Madness, indeed. Spring is a reminder, but reminding myself of joy is a practice at times. 

It’s spring again and I’m breathing deep. Yeah, deeper than last year. Baby steps. It’s spring again, so I’ll do what I know best. Reset. Recharge. Remember. Repeat…until there’s only the ground left to thaw, and summer is in full bloom.   

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