“This is the story of how I recovered.”
Perhaps that was a pretentious opening line for a college journal, especially since I hadn’t recovered. Not yet.
It was August of 2012. I was halfway through college and I felt as though I’d just started. The first two years I was trying to erase from my memory.
That August I found myself in a hotel by a river in Croatia. If you’ve never heard of Croatia, it’s a tiny boomerang-shaped country across the Adriatic from Italy. I went to teach English to Croatian middle school students for two weeks—at least that’s what I wrote in the support letters. In reality, I went to prove a point. I went to run away from the sound of his voice in my head.
“What’s the use of going to Croatia? It’s a waste of your time, not to mention your money. What good could you possibly do?”
These words and hundreds more echoed in my mind as I leaned on the broad windowsill, gazing out on the moon-bedazzled water. Frank Sinatra serenaded me from my laptop’s speakers, as he often did when I needed to drive away the nightmares.
“Moon river, wider than a mile,
I’m crossing you in style someday.”
Standing over those shining waters, I tasted freedom for the first time in eighteen months. It tasted infinitely better than everything I knew, or thought I knew, of love.
“Oh, dream maker, you heart breaker,
Wherever you’re going, I’m going your way.”
I knew that I wanted to chase every river I crossed and see where it led me. Nothing and no one was going to tie me down. I’d had enough of that for a lifetime.