Pride

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They say pride comes before a fall and I bruised yours, didn’t I. Like a ripe peach in the palm of my hand, I gripped so tight the juices ran clear between my fingers and down my arm. You simply stood there, that cold look in your eye. I never did it purposefully, mind. I was just trying to be honest. I’m always just trying to be honest.

Especially after the time I broke that poor boy’s heart, with my selfishness and lack of care. Damn near destroyed him. I couldn’t look at love the same way after that. The weight of every word, every choice, hung heavy on me and I knew I had to learn. I couldn’t, in deed wouldn’t, let that happen again, I said. Not on my watch.

Yet I soon came to find how easy it is, when you’re the fair one, the kind one, the soft one, for the world to trample on you and rip you to shreds. Maybe that’s because not everyone’s inherited the burden of a conscience yet, or perhaps most people have simply never killed before. A heart that is. As gentle and amiable as they are. The way they beat a little faster with that flicker of desire and yet how they harden just as fast, given reason to.

I’m still trying to soften mine to you. Even though you’ve fractured it more times than I can count and solely because I gave you permission to do so. I leant in. I trusted. Even with all my doubts and fears surrounding me like thick fog. I always chose to drive through them, holding onto your hand tightly as I did so. I might have been uncertain of our future, but I was always certain of you.

You couldn’t wade through it the same though, could you. When I’d fight, you’d flee. When I’d love, you’d leave. Your constant uncertainty not aided by mine. Fickle little creature that you were, not yet sturdy on your legs enough to run towards what you craved most. So now you speak sweet nothings into your own ears at night. Convince yourself that solitude is enough. Solitude is safe ground for you to graze.

And whilst your stand is still and your eyes glaze over with that detachment I know only too well, your bruised heart still speaks to me in words of longing. Hidden in the lines. Hidden in the silence. Hidden in the house you now call home. You place my memory in a box, housed upon a shelf, in a room you never grace, so as to avoid me.

You spend your days writing graceful prose on love and life, yet never quite commit to either off the page. You’re simply always running into things on your way from escaping something else. Everything becoming a stepping stone onto something new and often times, your feet barely land before they take flight again. Hardly leaving a footprint, although one that soon becomes entrenched. Not washing away as easily as tears do.

You’ll learn though. By God you’ll learn. Because we all do in the end. One day you’ll find yourself standing on the edge, looking out onto that clear blue sea, the waves crashing heavily against the rocks below and you’ll wonder what fear and freedom have really cost you when that squalid pride, you fought so hard to protect by chasing love away, is all you have left. After all, proud people breed sad sorrows for themselves.

Nothing

 
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Sometimes you believe you were born broken. Or perhaps it was the brutality of the world that pulled you apart. Slowly, but surely, over time. Now it seems you have become a mass of gaping wounds, that get so cruelly prodded here and there. Often by well meaning folks, but occasionally by those that are so caught up in their own misery, they don’t even see how deep they cut with just an ill-placed word, a look, or sometimes simply silence.

It’s the latter that hurts the most though isn’t it. The inability to communicate when it’s so desperately wanted and in need. That’s the kind of inaudible noise that starts to deafen over time. Kills you with the longing. The deep desire to know the unknown. And often, in the absence of answers, you start to make them up. Create fiction in your head so strong you’d swear it was the truth.

And when you can’t find the truth and your feral mind has been driven insane by its own version, you’ll start to seek it out at any cost, only it’s usually you that ends up paying. ‘Cause you can’t unread the lines. Cold and heartless as they are. The ones that reduce you to a paragraph of nothing. The ones that dig deep into your biggest wound. That one that never heals.

You read those lines with no surprise, yet filled with disappointment. Although it wasn't the first time you’d read them, nor been made to feel that way and it wasn’t the disscontempt from which they were produced that eroded you as it did. Ultimately, it was the echoing of all your greatest fears and insecurities being outlined by the hand of the one person you trusted to accept them, not make them a reason for leaving.

That’s the thing though, when you give yourself to love; in order to do it fully, you need to give yourself completely. Wounds and all. You must purge your greatest failures and trust the other person not to judge you. Because it’s not the totality of you, but it is a part and it’s a part you try to hide; that broken, messy, bitter side. The ugly bit. The bit you think no one will love. But they do, the right ones always do.

Yet you can’t know who the right ones are until you show them. Lay bare before them, defenceless, vulnerable, still raw from the last one who fooled you into thinking you were safe, before you stumbled upon the reality that damn near killed you with its cruelty. You know only too well that you’ll run through a hundred disappointments ‘til you find the one strong enough to carry your despair.

The one who looks at you as you crumble into nothing and still sees something worth picking up. Something worth loving. The one who doesn’t tear you apart with their constructive criticism. The one who doesn’t look at you like you’re something to fix. The one who accepts you in your current state, knowing you could be more, you could be better, but that you might never grow to be.

And you know from experience they exist, because you’ve found them once before. They showed you a type of love that terrified you. That in some way revolutionised, yet its impact was such that when it was over, you realised you’d spend your whole life trying to find something that’d match it. Because everything seemed somewhat superficial after that. A little pointless. If it wasn’t real, it wasn’t right.

So, now you lay awake at night, thinking over where it all went wrong. How you didn’t realise. How you could have put so much trust into someone that so casually broke it, without so much as an apology. You reread the words you’ve memorised, from the page you photographed inside your mind. Each syllable never ceasing to sting. The betrayal, the disappointment, the hurt. It all still cutting like a knife.

They told you they saw you, really saw you, where others had previously failed to do so. Yet in the end, they took those fractured pieces you had so courageously trusted to show them and used them against you. Used them to blindly break you where you were only just mending. Destroying the little fragmented good that was left. And now, once again, the world seems like the brutal place you always feared it to be.

Now you’re left to carry the weight of all your heartaches, whilst doing your best not to let them drown you, as you set off to swim those tides again. You tell yourself what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, yet you know you’re more fragile than before. Because some bruises don’t heal, some breaks don’t mend and some things can’t be forgiven.

Maybe ain’t no good

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It’s true, it took a while for me to see you. Really see you. See the value you possessed. I was still emotionally wrapped in the arms of another. Wrapped in the arms of my past. But I told you this, at every twist and turn. You asked and I always answered. Always. Did I not? I looked you in the eye and told you I wasn’t sure, because I wasn’t.

But now I am.

Y’see, when I love, I love entirely. I am committed, bound to that love. Although, my dedication often keeps me tethered long after the lover has left. My heart still playing out the beat, even though the music has come to an end. This is who I am. I cannot shallow breathe. I inhale. I consume.

And that circus we inhabited, that land of possibilities, built on selfishness, didn’t help, as its fickleness fed yours. How could the idea of building something solid with you there not seem risky. Yet when you took me to your roots, showed me your kin, in that Gaelic light, I saw a man of worth. It’s just a shame his presence left as soon as the plane did.

But I meant it though, when I said that I choose you. Because I’ve honoured my last love now. Laid it to rest. Your love inspired me to do so. So perhaps you were right, in a way, you were a bandaid over the crack. Only it seems as though you healed me more than I ever thought you could.

But I will not wait for a maybe, anymore than I would have expected you to have waited for mine. Because we both deserve better than a maybe. Better than an ‘I might run away’, or an ‘I believe in second chances’, as you’re running out the door.

That concrete jungle we called home, peeled off layers. Swept away the detritus. But eventually, it left me bare. I became disinterested, disorientated and a sense of powerlessness washed over me like holy water, stripping me of sin. Yet returning to the lands that gave me life, have served to remind me of who I was and who I am.

And I am not a person who lives on maybes. I’ve built a life on taking chances, on seeing things through. On diving into the depths and learning how to swim along the way. And yes, sometimes I learn too late, but honestly, I think life’s too short not to leap over the kitchen table for what sets your soul on fire.

Sure, sometimes you get burnt, but you gotta accept that sometimes the lessons just come that way. That’s life baby. That’s living.