With ‘pen in hand,’ Denise sat at the keyboard and began to type.

“Dear friends. I hope you have a wonderful new year. I wish I could say the same for myself, but things just look so dim currently. There will be good years for most of us, I suppose, but it just doesn’t look that way for me right now. Much love to you. Denise..."

Just like someone might hold an envelope out and look at the address before dropping it in the mailbox, Denise ‘held out the letter’ in front of her before hitting ‘save.’ No satisfaction other than perhaps a burden lifted slightly off her shoulders, but still heavy enough to cause a great deal of pain. Over the next several hours a few comments came her way.

“I’m so sorry.”

“I wish there was something I could do.”

“Take it easy and have a good New Year. You have family here.”

She looked at the most recent comment and shook her head. The same comment over and over; dispensing sage advice regardless of the situation or the person.

“I’ve got family here as well,” she thought; laughing at the irony and pain. Her laughter turned quickly to sad tears. Was it truly like a child’s card game? Would a loving group of friends actually trump a cold shoulder by a wife? Could encouragement to relax really soothe the pain of a slap or an insult or silence? She sighed and looked down at her body. The same needs presented themselves daily; almost as a cruel taunt of what she felt inside.

“You’re gonna carry that weight….carry that weight a long time.”

The music played in her head often, and it pierced her heart whenever she heard the song in real life. Never meant for her, the writers almost seemed to know how she felt; the feelings of helplessness and hopelessness.

“Relax…. Take it easy. You’ve got a family here.”

The idea that pixels on the screen could translate into virtual hugs was certainly appealing; she had friends who ‘hugged’ her daily and she knew that they knew….that they struggled with their own disappointments and sadness. Some of them had hurts like hers that lasted only a short time, but were just as real as the ones that spanned life-times. Because they knew that pain.

Fear and rejection permeated her soul on an almost daily basis and were driven back by the knowledge that someday things might change; hope springs eternal? The ‘touch’ of a heart to hers by words that spoke of knowing how she felt and her knowing that they knew.

“Relax and take it easy. You have family here! I accept you.”

“I’m so tired,” she said to no one even as friends around the world knew exactly how she felt.” No need for advice or caution or validation from them, since their words spoke of those needs without mentioning them. They had heard all of that themselves countless times, and knew how even the truth, however earnestly delivered, can hurt more than a lie.

“I accept you.” She looked at the words on the screen and hit the little ‘x’ in the corner. Putting her head on the hands resting on the desk, she sighed a deep sigh and began to cry.

“Are you finished in there?” The voice came from another room. No real time to breathe in the moment; painful tears can be good, especially when unimpeded by the urgency of the moment.

A moment later she was lying next to her partner.

“Night…” The voice was caring and almost soothing, but her doubts remained about herself. Even so, a lack of understanding still was accompanied by a choice to love. And of course that trumps anything, doesn’t it?

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