The piano plays a sweet lullaby trying to entice me to sleep. The beauty of the hymn takes me back to days that were simple, less complicated. But, just like that, 3-2-1 I’m snapped out of my reverie to what is. It’s still early, not even the raccoons have departed to their domiciles from their nocturnal escapades. I listen to the breathing next to me and feel a single tear roll down my cheek. This is what I have chosen.

Like every other time something inside of me breaks. The real world no longer matters. No one knows, no one can see, that my brain is no longer mine to control. I can hear them say it’ll be alright. It’ll be ok. We can make it through. They want me to trust them but when I look into their eyes I see nothing but pity. I am aware of how numb I feel. I have fallen into the night and its darkness with the understanding that this is what I have chosen.

I stumble out of bed but still careful in where I am placing my feet in places where I know I will not make contact with my dogs. I tip-toe out of the bedroom in to the bathroom to rinse my face. Hoping the water could cool down the flushed emotions. I look up into the mirror and stare into the eyes that stare back at me. We study each other trying to provoke the other in declaring which reflection is real. I watch the water pool in my eyes and tell myself, this is what I have chosen.

I creep into the living room with my small dog as my tail. He is always curious about my psyche and today he is acutely in tune with the break. I’m longing for a “good morning” but I know some things in life can never be. So, I sit down trying to calm the tears that are ready to flow. Breathe in, I tell myself. Breathe out! I command. I still have a chance but this is what I have chosen.

He intends to go on an adventure today but I need to do something to seem even a little put together. I can’t seem to pick up my computer to write. I put on some music and that just sucks me in deeper. I turn on the system in hopes a perfect quarterback rating gets my blood flowing. Instead, on the first series he is hurt and I must depend on my running game. I laugh at the irony, this is what I have chosen.

A 184 yard running game pleases me but I’m still not waiting for anything but that morning greeting. Oh my heart, be still. To combat the sinking feeling I ready myself for the adventure that clearly benefits him. A song begins to replay and my body aches to unlove it. We have other lives, it sings, no matter if it isn’t right. This is what I have chosen.

Thirty minutes from home we reach our destination. The universe has begun to collapse all around me. I can feel the water calling me. The river that always seems to right the wrongs. The river, like me, that just calmly sits welcoming the chance of something refreshing and adventurous. I settle in close enough to the river to feel its strength but far enough to not let it tangle my heart. Just like my life. This is what I have chosen.

The sun beats down. Half of me is enjoying the vitamin D that I am sorely missing. The other half is neglectfully refusing to cover up the skin that is being pierced by the knives of the sun’s rays. It is these knives that have taken away the numbness and is helping me focus on the pain. I see him at the river bank with his friends enjoying what he loves. I’m trying to love what he loves but I am just a ghost in this world. So much history, a once unstoppable force. Now, just a master and his puppet. This is what I have chosen.

The device in my hand has yet to flutter to life. No good mornings, no hellos, no mia cara, mi machi. Silence has become the norm today. As if it prepares me for what is to come in a week’s time. A promise has made the beauty of the flowers around me dull; a war with my subconscious, the fight to protect what is left of my heart. I try to speak but the melody of my voice is just a whisper. He has to huddle down close to hear because the hurt has stifled my strength to speak. I tell him I just want to go home. He takes it as a clue to return to the place we rest our heads at night. The understanding was missed. Home. The place where I can truly be me. Instead I turn my back on the river and head back to our residence. Not for the final time, as this is what I have chosen.