The first time she laughed I thought it was the sound of the world coming apart. The second time she laughed I realized it was the sound of me falling to pieces. The third time I understood that it was both and neither pieces and the whole falling apart and falling into place. She told a story and a saw a new bit of the universe. I showed my weakness and for the first time in my life had someone reach out a hand grind the destruction to a halt and tell me I was worth too much for that. She was the first. The first person who’s fierce joy made me believe that I could love and have it be healthy. They were the only people who ever proved to me that religion plus humanity does not always equal intolerance and cruelty. Such beautiful things to find. Such a joy to know. So grievously difficult to leave but worth the knowing despite any aftereffects. A new lease one that perhaps I did not deserve but which I will take and run with and try to do right by.