Exit Strategy

I take note of all the exits upon entering a place, almost never sit with my back to the door, think, when I see that rabbit on the side of the road, its brown ears alert, its body quivering, that when I watch the way it runs so quickly from the car I can see how we are kindred spirits, that heart in me, rabbit-like, so easily startled.

And that friend at happy hour, the one who says its okay that I don’t connect like most people, laughs at me a little for this, how my exit routes are always mapped, the way I plan for people’s leaving, or how I might before they do, know just how long I might give it before running. He tells me I will wake up some day to find that someone has stayed, maybe moved into my life in small increments so as not to startle me, wonders what I will do then, that morning I wake and notice that extra toothbrush, the things a man has moved into my space, the space a man has taken up in that heart of mine, still rabbit-like but no longer running, tells me he looks forward to saying I told you so.

It sounds like a nice thing, I tell him, and I’m okay with being wrong, I tell him, and, to myself, most of the times I have been really hurt are because I waited too long to go. When I tried to hold on to what wasn’t meant for me. When I wanted it still, even knowing it would hurt. I think of the hours at night I sat up crying while men slept when I should have instead been planning my exit strategy. When I should have left before they had woken. When I should have just gone.

But, it sounds like a nice thing, I tell him, and I want to be wrong, I tell him, and, to myself, maybe I could learn how to stay. How to let them stay. Instead of always taking note of all the exits.

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