When Creating Prose Empties the Soul of its Pain
By Barbara Ann Cerda | Contributing Writer
A week passed and the booze and seclusion did little to stop the pain that stole my sleep and kept the tears flowing. The sudden loss of my friend, lover, and partner seemed more than I could handle. I thought all was good and right with my world. A great job with a global media marketer, a boyfriend I thought loved and wanted to marry me. Then the door to my dreams suddenly slammed shut leaving me staring into a black abyss. Stark fear and hurt took hold of my senses. There was a desperate need for solace.
Interrupting her busy workday my best friend Aisha responded immediately. I knew she heard all reason abandoned in my shaky voice. Friends since grammar she rearranged her schedule to meet me the next afternoon for lunch. Staring that morning into the bathroom mirror, I tried to calm my nerves enough to apply makeup to hide the dark circles and swollen eyes. The face staring back at me affirmed a struggling recovery from a week of constant booze and too little food. Dulled senses, a stomach churning, and I was throwing up twice a day.
We met on Pearce and Michigan Avenue. My mass of highlighted coils hung over red-rimmed eyes. I knew I looked awful as she suddenly appeared with a hug. I smiled into her beautiful face and hoped it made sense to share my hell with her.
Grabbing my arm, we sprinted across the crowded lunchtime sidewalk to the Chicago Museum of Modern Art. Dodging the usual pedestrian crowded sidewalk, we ran up the hot white stone stairs to the glass covered entrance. Entering the cooled lobby with summer tourists milling everywhere, we settled into the dining room and I whispered almost out of breath, “Rashid has left me.”
Settling into the seat opposite, she leaned forward in silent rage. The reply arrived short and angry, “I knew that little creep would do this. I’m damn glad. Good riddance” She began arranging the linen in her lap before the infamous glare, “Don’t tell me you’ve been on a binge and calling off work”.
Aisha knew me well. She also knew my dark handsome ex-lover. We three attended Chicago Colombia University and it was love at first sight for me. I moved into his apartment just a few weeks after we met. Five years after graduation, his family business took him away from me most of the year. Busy with my own career my illusions persisted about “that wonderful someday” when we would marry and have children. That was not to be.
Over lunch with Aisha, I began relating my sad tale about Rashid’s midnight call. He was not returning to Chicago as planned. A childhood friend had stolen his heart and they had married. I timidly shared with Aisha the worst part of my story. I told him that I was pregnant and he ended the call.
My meeting with Aisha reassured me of her support. But my drinking continued and days later, I looked into the mirror again. The alcohol induced swelling changed my features. The guilt took charge reminding me that I had a little life growing in my belly.
Weeks later, I told Aisha over dinner my decision to keep the baby. Struggling to bring something good and positive into my life I decided to journal about my passage to healing. I wrote about my pain, the loneliness, the hate, anger, and sense of deep betrayal. I took a leave of absence for eight months. Four months later the abyss gave way to sunny days again. My journaling became a novel and by the time my young one arrived so did a best seller.
I named that book after her and dedicated it to Aisha. Each time I look at my little girl’s face that mirrors the dark handsome features of Rashid I smile. Because that brief painful time gifted me with a glorious new life and a new friend and daughter, a new career and a bestseller.
When new authors ask me how to survive those awful searing moments of pain that threaten to destroy their muse. I always tell them that when creating prose it empties the soul of its pain and frees you to live the joy that always follows.
We at ChapterSee would love you to share with us those moments of truth when your gift of creativity helped heal a painful time.