Chapter 17

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Initially, after Camila had asked me for space, I had been heartbroken. Once again, I had felt like I wasn't what she needed or wanted. For a while, I had wallowed in self-pity and had been dangerously close to going back to my old ways of ignoring the actual problem and focusing on work.

But somehow I noticed that I had changed already. Ever since Camila and I had met again, the sadness that had dictated my life for such a long time had lessened. No matter how difficult things had been between us, she had sparked new life in me. I didn't want to be the broken young woman anymore, who needed work or someone else to feel worthy. For the very first time in my life, I solely focused on myself.

First, there were the obvious changes. I quit smoking. I exercised more and picked up Yoga as a daily routine. I wrote a lot more to cope with all the negative emotions that had poisoned my existence for such a long time. Those rather external changes then sparked and reinforced the internal change.

There was a quote I had heard once and it made so much sense to me now: the most important relationship you have in life, is the relationship you have with yourself. For the first time ever, I was in a loving and healthy relationship with myself. It felt like breaking up with the abusive part of myself and finally becoming the person I wanted to be. Surely, there was still a lot of work to do because I had days on which felt just as insecure as before but the general feeling within me had changed. And everyone around me seemed to notice it as well. My relationships with people were completely different. I was able to let them in more and let them see the real me. Coming to terms and accepting who I was felt like being whole; maybe not completely, because there was still a part of my heart that was vacant.

Camila's visit in New York was causing some chaos in my head because I had almost given up on the idea of her reaching out to me. I had assumed I'd be the one making the first step at some point. Her coming to see me and being so open to the idea of us getting together was almost a shock. That information took some time to process and I remembered the way I handled our conversation in the restaurant. Obviously I still had feelings for the younger woman but I was also very scared of what could happen once we decided to give it a real go. We'd never be able to go back. Losing her over and over again had left a mark on me and I wasn't sure if the last wound had healed entirely.

Going back to Miami a few days later, I was determined to at least see Camila. There was no denying in the fact that I missed her. Even though I was more careful with my heart this time around, it still longed for her. So I decided to pull out my phone and text her while sitting in the empty mansion.

L: Hey you :) I'm back in town. What are you doing?

C: I'm at my old high school, finishing up. Wanna come over and get some coffee afterwards? All the students are gone, so you're safe ;)

L: I'll be right there.

Shortly after exchanging the text messages, I found myself entering the big building that used to be Camila's nightmare. My steps echoed in the empty hallway and everything seemed quiet until I heard music being played. It sounded like a piano and I wondered if Camila had picked up on another instrument. I followed the sound and knocked softly on the door that seemed to be right one, opening it slowly afterwards.

Someone was in fact playing the piano but it wasn't Camila. The light haired woman was sitting on a stool with a guitar in her lap while a young girl was sitting at the piano next to her. She must have been around fifteen. Obviously one of the students Camila helped out with music therapy. She had told me before about giving special lessons to teenagers at the school if they needed some sort outlet.

"Oh, sorry", I said immediately. "I didn't want to interrupt...I thought you were done."

"Oh my God! Is this real life right now?", the student exclaimed as she focused on me with wide eyes. I still forgot sometimes that people knew and recognized me. I laughed lightly and made my way over to them.

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