My friends, they sit around me and talk about timing and when to call and when to ignore, and they have more experience at this than I do, so I try to listen, and then just shake my head. It's all spinning. I gave a solid 10 years of my life to one person, who tossed it aside as worthless, and so now I'm starting over. When did it get so complicated?
It is complicated now. Maybe it always was and I just never recognized it. I certainly had my baggage back then, deep wounds of bubbling hurt, parts of me taken violently, but I was much stronger then, or maybe just younger and more resilient. At least for a while. I had fight back in those days that has long since died out. And now...now I just feel weak, scared, used up. And so now it's all very complicated, and I'm having to learn about timing and how to hold my cards tight and pretend that I don't care, when I do, and play a game that I was not built to play.
But when you kissed me, it didn't feel complicated at all. And in fact, it felt like you saw me, like no one ever has. And we talked on the phone for hours, like only teenagers do, and I smiled giddy and ridiculous as I drifted off to sleep. You commented on how beautiful my green eyes are, but I looked away because I felt naked and you could see through me. And you called me baby and sweetheart and cutie and I felt, for a short time, that Atlas could take the world back and give my shoulders a rest, that I could just be a lady around you and not a superhero, that I might have some rest. We talked for hours on a patio and laughed at silly things and took a walk just for the sake of holding hands. And it felt so good to be held again.
And I got excited and scared and insecure and was sure that it was all just too good to be true. I could only look away so many times before you really did see through me. I am damaged goods and continue to hear the words that laid me low for years, stole my fight and leveled me a to a pile of useless. His insults rattle in my heart like a pinball bouncing off of bruised chambers, and they lodge in my ears like a freight train, about worthlessness and unlovable and too big and too blind and too much of me to ever really be loved.
And a friend told me to be coy and ignore and be me, but less of me, and I don't know how to play these games, and I guess I've already lost because now you're gone. So I sigh a deep, resolute breath, hunch shoulders low and place the globe right back between the blades that bore them for so long. And yet this time, I am not buried. There is a burning in those bruised chambers, chasing down lies and strengthening walls, rebuilding what was once torn down, and I feel it.
Dare I call it Hope. I thought she was dead to me. I thought she was smothered in the wreckage of the life that once was, a total loss. And yet her embers burned the whole time. So while I have lost this round, she has been awakened, busying herself with the necessary repairs of damaged goods.