I was laying in my lover’s arms, crying that I had to learn what it meant to be alone.

Perhaps it was the copper IUD I had inserted inside of my uterus at Planned Parenthood but a month earlier. Every woman knows what it feels like to have her knees up and spread open, stirrups for her feet and a paper sack laid over her bare body from the waist down. In the span of 20 minutes and more severe cramping than any period had ever bestowed me, I was a fresh example of modern-day contraception. No babies from sex and away we go.

Or perhaps it was the extra alcohol I was consuming at night ever since I threw my one and only house party, full of laughter and spirit that has since been emptied out. What a strange feeling: the aftermath. There is a loss and a grief experienced when frivolity and friendship is met by quiet of everyday living.

Or perhaps it was this time of year, the way the snow stayed on the ground, sticking with an icy fervency like the way sighs stuck to my chest, freezing over heartbeats. The stillness of dark nights couldn’t help but remind me of darker times.

“Clear mind. Deep breath,” my lover said.

“Open heart,” I cradled my head closer to his chest. We met for a kiss, our breaths deepening together, filling our bellies, then expelling onto each other’s face.

“Open heart,” he responded with an easy smile.

There is a sensation of loneliness I feel when I know I am in a relationship. It exists in a completely different way than when I am alone without one. This “relationship loneliness” is one where I ache in the moments of boredom: sitting home alone with my cat and waiting to spend time with my man. I found myself wallowing in the waiting, my life pausing as I pined after physical touch and time.

I suppose that is a natural side effect of living with a man for three years, getting engaged in the midst of that, moving to a new state, and then deciding that you want to just say “fuck it all” and live on your own. You tear that bandaid away and yet the healing was not yet done. And then you get that IUD insertion.

I mean, Jesus, the healing hadn’t even begun and I wanted to be rid of the crutches altogether.

And so, because this all naturally takes time, I have a clear mind. I take a deep breath.

And blame it all on the copper IUD.


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