Your Signature Reads like Heartache, but It’s Powerful.
“This has my signature all over it.” Tear-swelled eyes lower toward creamy swirls in your now-room-temperature latte, and for a moment you look as if gravity might betray you.
I rest my hand on the table, palm-up, an invitation, and notice how quickly it disappears into the weave of your fingers, hands laced together into a mesh of unsettled fear, aching with guilt.
You tell me how her struggles tear at your mother’s heart, this adult child wearing the shadow-eyed mask of addiction, and how painful the recognition of each line in her face, each rationalization in her argument. “I know this darkness,” you say, eyes shifting as you remember things you’d rather forget.
“This has my signature all over it.”
Our sweaty hands are clasped tight. I don’t pull back. My own eyes shift — was that a memory?
Chewing my lower lip, I search for the right words — words that could heal or soothe or enfold — and come up short.
“I’m so sorry.”
What I want to say is too much, too raw.
The thing is, beautiful one, that your signature is one of the more stunning and real and powerful I’ve seen. Experience drips from your quill like milk from every mother who’s had to survive, to fight her way out of dark, fists, fear, fire, each breath a sacred communion, each step an act of faithful devotion to an unseen future you couldn’t yet envision or believe without the immobilizing promise of possibility.
Every night you spent hopeless on the floor, your spirit was reknitting itself, your soul building the steel with which you’d one day break loose — white-knuckled grip tightly around the blade’s hilt, focus narrowed, blinded to all but escape and freedom and fullness of being.
I feel the echoes in your fingers.
Every bottle that crashed on the wall behind your head, broken shards flying loose in a gale of terror, chimed the coming of your clarity and the deliverance of your wisdom. Every person who saw you struggling and read weakness, every lover who wanted you broken — each of their words fueled the torch that lit your beautiful resistance.
Your hand in mine, I silently breathe strength back into the you of then — the you I didn’t know. If prayers could travel timelessly into the past — to touch a broken heart or kiss the wounds that laid stripes across your soul — then perhaps you felt them.
On dark nights, did you sense something wrapped gently around you, enfolding you in friendship and warmth and blessing? Did you hear the song singing you sweetly back to love?
The me of now whispers to the you of then:
Don’t give up.
One more day.
You are so strong.
You deserve love.
I love you.
Burn that shit down.
I look across the table at the you of now. What do I see? Someone exquisite. Your laughter spills into our times together, raining sweetness across my salty cynicism. Devotion glows from the smile that brightens my week, lifts my spirits. The way you love your people and live your truth and pursue the kind of clearing vision that leads you back into your ever-stronger center — you inspire me.
Your signature — the one you worry reads like ash and ruin, heartache and grief? It’s already written, bold and precious, in vibrant friendship, across the pages of my life — a sacred inscription from a beloved co-author, a treasured gift for a grateful heart.
Christy Croft (she/her or they/them) lives in North Carolina, surrounded by the sweetest chosen family who bring warmth and delight. Since first volunteering at a suicide hotline over 25 years ago, Christy’s life has been enriched by opportunities to walk with people through darkness and transition, offering quiet companionship or a hand as needed as a doula, rape crisis companion, support group facilitator, teacher, priestess, mentor, mother, and friend. Their writing typically explores spirituality, compassion, trauma, gender, sexuality, and intimacy. Christy works full-time in violence prevention, dances, sings, walks labyrinths, spins fire, and finds long hugs and people who freely say ‘I love you’ endearing. They love mountains and rivers, like lists, and sometimes blog at Christy Croft.