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To the Friends That Broke Me:

by Elle White about a year ago in breakups

An open letter

To the Friends That Broke Me:

I’m slowing it down. Trying, so hard to write what I could never find the words to say. My chest is burning, heavy and all I want to do is smash my fist into something—anything, regardless of splitting bone. Tearing skin, scoring flesh—it never bleeds enough to let this bitterness seep out of my veins. You may as well try scoring into concrete. I don’t feel anything anymore, even if my body seems delicate and easily broken, I don’t flinch. And it’s because of you all.

I look around me at the life I’m living, and realise that I’m not living it. Like a forgotten ornament cracked in a rose bed. I don’t fit. It’s beautiful, everything, but it doesn’t penetrate my skin, doesn’t go past the eyes and spill over the brain with warmth and excitement. It doesn’t leave me longing for more of life. It leaves me drained, as the flowers keep dancing, spinning their heads towards the sun, intertwining, laughing, loving, growing. I watch, and the plants draw close sometimes, but my hard shell is unmoving, unwelcoming. I will never intertwine; they’ll never see deeper than cracked porcelain. It’s beautiful all around me, never in me. So, I’ll never open up and spill out such numbing cement onto what I love. I remain content from a distance. Safe. Accepting. Fucking hurting.

And you know, I’m like this because of all of you. They say we may not be in control of the world, but how we respond to it. Bullshit. Beautiful, Bullshit. When you love people, you flourish, grow around them. You grow with them. Do you see what I mean? People become a part of you, they become the beams and supports and rafters and bricks and mortar and doors and windows and tiles as you grow, as you add layers to who you are. When you grow with people, you become people and they become you. So, when they leave—when they hurt you, when you hurt me—it wasn’t a bad thing happening in my little version of world. It wasn’t a situation where I could choose a reaction to from my vending machine of manufactured feelings. It was you removing yourself from what we built together. It was you ripping out beams and floorboards and rafters and cracking wood and splintering paint. When I came crashing down, it was never because I was weak—it was because I learnt to be strong by loving people and caring for them. I had built myself upon connection, giving, supporting. And I learnt how dangerous that is.

So now, all these years later, I’m still finding chippings of myself that I never managed to slot back into the picture. Into what I’ve been rebuilding slowly, and alone. No one comes into this house. And I find I’m trapped in it. I can’t leave it—only watch the world go by from the windows and dream to be saturated in the sun’s warmth and tasting its sweet colour. I feel cold, I feel safer. Not safe, but safer.

There are no decorations on the walls. The walls aren’t even painted. I can smell the chalky plaster. The floors are still cold and hard. I watch where I step—there are nails. I’ve memorised their places, and I carefully step around them. I won’t have visitors. I sometimes imagine having people around. I can see us laughing, painting with colour, beautiful colour dripping from fingers and brushes and walls while we paint to music just as colourful and bright. The empty echo of my shuffling feet calls me back to reality. Calls me back to the day you closed the door behind you and with the click of the lock a whole house roared as it collapsed inwards on the earth. You didn’t even look over your shoulder as you walked away. Each footstep burned crevices and valleys into the footpath that would take me years to refill alone. And it would still never be level. I’ll still trip over you every day.

The smell of cold nothingness burns my nostrils.

But I’m safer.

I hope you understand, from your castle.

You know, sometimes I look at it—what you’ve built now. Through the cracked windows I still haven’t replaced. I see the pieces from here, blocks in your walls. The things you took back. How you can display them like that, use them as trophies and decorations and to hold yourself up knowing where they came from. I wonder as my breath fogs up the web of broken that I glance through. I wonder how many houses you broke to make the castle you wanted. People admire it, you’re always brimming with small figures like dolls in a dollhouse, oohing and awing over the shiny and pretty things you collect. Or steal.

I’m beginning to ramble. Fall into each way you have hurt me. It tears me into pieces, doing that. Following and chasing after the reasons why I’m screwed up in the ways that I am. The paths go in too many directions, and when you’re bored, you begin to make more. Or Is that me now? That’s what happens when you create a person with a self-destruct button. You can walk away, and I’ll finish the work you started. Just know that I will never be the same because of you. And no matter how high I manage to rebuild; it’s always going to be fucking empty because of you.

Elle White
Elle White
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Elle White

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