Vicki Marie’s Sexy Summer Reading Series: Chapter 9

Vicki Marie’s Sexy Summer Reading Series: One Chapter A Day


Chapter 9

In the aftermath, I became one of the walking wounded, mind-fucked, and heartbroken. How does one survive the brutality of a heart shattered twice? I starved myself, finding comfort in Marlboro Lights and frozen gin, fooled by the habit of showing up for life each day, though I was no longer living. I had mirrors, but did not see my body receding. I was blind to the bones forcing hard angles and sharp points to the surface. My body digested muscle tissue, and I shrank. Ninety days after Paris, I had come full circle. I was no longer capable of feeling a thing.

New York City Martini at The Peninsula Rooftop Bar, 2010

New York City Martini at The Peninsula Rooftop Bar, 2010

The symptoms of malnutrition are serious because without fuel, the body fails and the mind deludes. Medical attention became necessary, and I was diagnosed with depression. Through medication, we recalibrated the serotonin in my brain. Under the supervision of a nutritionist, I learned to eat again.

It was a dark episode, and I got through it with the love of my friends. Trish would come over and feed me. She sat at the table with me, a fork in her hand. She put the food I needed into my mouth, and I chewed. Finally, with food, I could think again, and as I got well, I was able to see what lay behind me. I was stunned that I had been so sick, and not known it. How was it possible that human heartbreak could so twist my body and my mind that I failed to eat?

My friend, Kathy, a mental health specialist, told me that the intensity of my grief was not strange. In my case, it had triggered disassociation, and after that, my shame consumed me. My subconscious started the downward spiral, concluding I was not worthy of love, or even worthy of life. Simply put, there was no longer a reason to feed myself. Her explanation startled me because it was clearly true. It was as if an alien had hijacked my will to live, and I had blindly cooperated in a march toward extinction. Having grasped the significance of the illness, Kathy then put forward the question that would mark the next direction of my life.

“Vicki Marie, first you lost your husband, then you lost a deep love. You’re going to be healthy again, and you’re definitely going to get involved again, and believe it or not, you’re going to fall in love again. So, what are you going to do about it?”

We were on the phone, and I was standing on my deck in the morning sun. I listened, my eyes closed to the warmth on my face. I felt spring in the Pacific Northwest.

“I’m not sure what you mean.”

“What can you do after the loss of love—because of a breakup, or a serious illness, or even death—so that you can handle deep loss, and never be so seriously sick again?”

There was sweat between my thighs where the denim held in the heat. I thought about death—its inevitability. Even if I did have another love in my life, impossible to imagine, there was going to be death. I was forty-four years old. Death of friends and family would become more common. There were so many people I loved. Loss would find me; if I didn’t prepare, it could break me again.

“At the end of the day, Vicki Marie, it’s just about you.”

I’d been fighting back against my own self-destruction. I was determined to be healthy, and I knew I was going to be OK. But she had just added real weight to my load. This was huge.

“In the end, my friend, you’re simply alone. You’re all that matters. You’re all you’ve got.”

Her words went to my gut. I knew she was right. I needed to do it differently. I wanted my health back, I wanted my heart back, and I never wanted to fall so far again. I needed a plan.

TOMORROW: Chapter 10

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Copyright Vicki Marie Stolsen, 2014, Forever Forty-Four Publications, Publicity Rare Bird Lit, Tyson Cornell,, Distribution by Ingram, Available online and in bookstores in paperback, eBook, and audio format.

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