I see your shadows in the hallways
I hear your voice echo off the walls
I had hoped I had only dreamt it
I had hoped you’d never been here at all
But I can see you through every window
I can feel you slamming all the doors
I hear your breathing, oh so quiet
But your footsteps are heavy on the floor
Shards of glass lie upon the carpet
Making my silence loud enough to hear
And though I tip toe and try to hide it
I know any sound I make will find your ear
This small house used to glow a safe white
There were no stains when I lived alone
Now I watch the walls drip with bright red
Look what you’ve done; this used to be my home.
I still smell you on my bedsheets
I still feel your hands across my skin
I cannot sleep here, for when my eyes close
Though I can’t see you, I watch it all again
I open my door to the hallway
Dead silence is what keeps me alive
But the door creaks as it betrays me
I hold my breath, “no, no you cannot cry.”
His door opens slowly down the hallway
The only barrier keeping him from me
Are the shards of glass he laid on the carpet
Though they make mine bleed they do not touch his feet
But different this time, as I’m watching
I see his blood smeared across the floor
From his footsteps and I realize
He cannot hurt me, can’t touch me anymore.
I start to wonder why all the sudden
He cannot walk on his glass this time
As he is screaming, I look closer
And then I notice the glass isn’t his anymore…
This is not who you’re always gonna be.
It won’t be easy,
But you’ll see
If you keep walking through the fire you’ll be set free.
Two more years
Have passed and you’re still stuck with all your fears.
But just you keep
On walking through
The insecurities that have always blinded you.
Two years later,
Parts of you will soon begin to break and shatter.
But don’t you dare
Stop right there,
Or you’ll miss out on the love you’re meant to share.
Two decades old,
Be careful to whom you give your heart to hold.
Because he’ll take
What isn’t his
Please just know this isn’t what love really is.
Now twenty two,
You’ll soon receive a gift that’ll always stay with you.
And he is safe
For your heart.
He’ll start putting back together what others tore apart.
One year later,
You’ll have to leave the one thing that ever held you together.
But don’t you let
Your heart be torn,
For in this cold, harsh world he’ll be able to keep it warm.
Don’t let the bottle in his hands push you around anymore.
It’s time to go,
You’re allowed to leave,
It still hurts even if others cannot see.
It’s hurt like hell, but keep your head up, you’re still alive.
All this pain
That’s bruising you
May not end right now, but you do make it through.
When he calls you her name, know you should be leaving.
You don’t deserve
The way he is.
In your eyes is hope, but there will always be none in his.
Months down the road
Give him a chance, for he won’t keep you on your toes.
He’ll make you laugh
And make you smile
And you will start to heal though it may take a while.
When your heart
Leaves for heaven
It’s ok for you to open up, is ok for you to tell them.
Sometimes the ones
That help you most
Aren’t always people who stay so very close.
I’m twenty eight now,
I’ve made it this far but sometimes don’t know how.
But some days
I still hear
A little, quiet voice in my ear.
“It won’t always
Be this hard
Hope is precious, it’s how you got this far.
So don’t quit now
Don’t give up
You’ll be where you want to be just soon enough.”
And there’s your life
Through one more door,
Just a little patience, just wait a little more.
It’s not over,
It’s not done,
You’re so much stronger than what you thought you could become.
“I’ll take what I want when I want.”
Your statement was in reference to your careless sexual agenda with me, but its raw meaning didn’t remain confined to your hot breath on my skin, your cold hands on my hips, the burning between my thighs with every movement. You said it with a tone that hinted you were joking, but it turned out to be the only truth to ever slither off your venomous tongue. Every word of every phrase from your vile lips was dark, distant, and deceitful, just like you; you were never more than a malicious, unsteady shadow cloaked flawlessly with light.
In the beginning, all that was visible was that love of life, that brilliant charm, that wide grin and witty banter, but over time the cloak fell to shredded pieces scattered on the floor. I didn’t realize I would soon be strewn across the floor too, clinging to the bits of light barely visible anymore. You led me blindly into your shattered world, and shattered me with it, with you. You took anything you wanted, everything I didn’t have to offer. I unveiled my heart quickly, young, blatant naivety placing it in your hands before you earned it. Your response was to yank it from me as though it was an object that already belonged in your possession; you were never gentle with it, just like you were never gentle with me.
You defined love and fear for me, both of which I am still trying to redefine seven years later. What you were willing to give was never love; love does not yell ruthlessly at a terrified girl, nor does it strip her of her identity by placing rough hands where they are not wanted, or control her life as if it were your own. The way you defined fear, however, was simple: stay on your toes upon the eggshells; do not cry for the tears may melt the thin ice; tread quietly as to not anger him, for his tongue is a whip, his fists wrecking balls, and his voice a volcano. My effort didn’t matter, though. Your explosions of anger and the side effects they brought had no instigation, and their sporadic yet guaranteed occurrences left me frozen in fear because you kept fight and flight for yourself. You could fight if you chose to. You could go as you pleased, but not me. I was to bend to your rules, do as you said, and I was afraid I wouldn’t have a tomorrow if I didn’t.
The power was yours, the control was yours, but it was never my choice; you never heard me, never cared to listen, and I could not speak over you. While you were suspicious, I was transparent, but I guess the terror I laid on the table wasn’t good enough… or maybe you enjoyed seeing it there. You shoved me away with your animosity, but kept me chained so you could yank me back into your smothering arms, bereft of solace or comfort; all I found in them was a horrid inability to breathe, or the sound of your fist against the wall too close to me. Each time your lifeless fingertips touched my skin, you tore away yet another piece of me, never belonging to you, and took a lit match to it; I watched as I slowly became less and less, engulfed in flames, in shock and in pain.
Maybe one day I’ll stop hating myself for allowing you to pull me back to you like a fish on a hook. You held vicious secrets in one palm, untrue accusations in the other, and over time they slipped through your fingers to land at my feet, like shards of glass among the eggshells. It didn’t take long for my steps to become painful, my footprints a trail of dark red on the ice, but you demanded I keep walking. I lived in your rain, cringed under your thunder, trembled beside your lightning; you were a ceaseless thunderstorm, one you implanted within me to hold until it destroyed me, until you destroyed me. I lost who I was to you, my identity altered because of you, my future uncertain and daunting. I’m still trying to put myself back together, but missing pieces make it difficult. I hope you didn’t keep them; I hope you tossed them away thoughtlessly. You never deserved any part of me. I don’t know who I am anymore; you took that from me. I never should have been forced to be that strong, but I was not given an option. I was never given a choice.
Someday I hope to no longer find you in everything which should be beautiful. I fight myself every day, but am I really fighting myself, or am I still glued to your shadow? Somehow you still remind me of all I couldn’t be.
I hope the gates of Heaven were open for you when you got there. I hope you were welcomed by understanding angels with gentle hands. I hope you knew you were in a place forever free of harm. I hope you saw bliss in a future of abundant freedom. I hope you knew nothing would be asked of you there. I hope you understood you would never be bound by ropes again. I hope you felt every burden lifted. I hope you found comfort among the clouds. I hope you discovered the green grass stretching beyond the horizon so you may gallop alongside Seabiscuit and Secretariat.
I hope you felt the sun on your back, but were never burnt. I hope you felt the breeze lift your mane and tail, but never shivered. I hope you discovered the kind of joy you couldn’t find here. I hope you found companions so you would never be alone. I hope you found every piece of yourself you may have lost here. I hope you have forgotten what pain feels like. I hope you have forgotten what fear feels like. I hope you have forgotten what frustration feels like. I hope you found peace. I hope you understood your purpose here was fulfilled. I hope you could feel the reflection of the rainbows on your coat. I hope you embraced the rain, kicked up your heels, and flew; I hope you flew with the angels over the endless, vibrant green of the pastures and the crystal blue of the rivers. I hope you landed among flowers of gold and yellow, and pranced among them, allowing your beautiful personality to blossom.
And I hope you knew how much you helped this broken girl, how you changed her life and her heart. You held her self doubt, her pain, and her memories selflessly. You were patient with her mistakes. You were forgiving in a way most people are not. You surrendered your time, your effort, your trust to her. You gave her your heart, your everything, and she gave you hers in return.
I hope you cannot feel my tears, or hear my cries for you, for I promised you I would never cause you pain. I hope you forgive me for not saying goodbye when I had that chance. I will always need your strength, and your warmth, and your comfort. I miss you so much. They called you I’m The Lucky One, when actually I should have held that name; I am so blessed to have had you in my life. Eternity would not have been enough time with you. I hope you will always remember me. I will never forget you. I will look to the obsidian sky and find the brightest star, and there you will be.
And I hope you will wait for me; I will look for you when I walk through the gates.
In loving memory of I’m The Lucky One, “Jeffrey,” who went home in November of 2017. You will always be in my heart. I love and miss you.
*Photo Credit – Jesse Turner
What can you do when you witness a spark ignite a single piece of pine straw lying among debris littering the matted dirt of a forest trail from inside a glass house?
You can watch as the flame jumps to the surrounding pine straw, remaining on the trail for only a few moments before grasping for the crisp, lifeless leaves surrounding the trees. The vibrant, livid orange climbs them, crawling up their trunks and spiraling toward their branches, turning everything it touches to black, and ash falls like snow to the ground. You can watch the birth of a wildfire explode within a place of peace, of comfort, of unadulterated life. You can watch horrified animals run, frantic, their homes being destroyed without remorse in front of you; you begin to sob because you know what it feels like to have that taken away, and because you understand what that kind of fear feels like.
The next second you blink, and your aching eyes notice another acre is engulfed in flames, the fingertips of its rage seemingly touching what once was the sky, clouds of black billowing from the forest into the air, no longer clean and refreshing. You can smell the scorched Earth, feel the screaming heat, hear the constant crackles from the flames and the thundering crashes from falling trees and limbs. You put your trembling hands against the glass, swollen eyes wide in terror, as you watch such a beautiful place get ruined by hate, and rage, and anguish.
The only thing you want, the only thing you want is to save what’s left, what’s untouched, what’s still new and beautiful and hopeful, but the best you can do is lean wearily against the glass, your inconsistent breath fogging it, and your tears leaving wet stains on your cheeks, on the floor until you are too weak to stand anymore. You can fall to your knees, your heart so incredibly and irreversibly broken you don’t care if they shatter under your weight.
You can recall the buckets of water sitting behind you in a row, much too small to have an effect on this disaster now, and remaining within the glass house holding them hostage; half of the forest is smothered now, tarred and smoking, the rest waiting for what seems like an inevitably malicious ending to its peace.
The glass is too hot to touch now, your tears turning to steam, but in here you are safe from the flames, despite your total disregard for own safety. This fire cannot touch you, but the howling of the forest, the panic of the animals, the scrutinizing pain from watching something you love so much getting destroyed right in front of you… that can touch you, and it does in a way that shreds you to pieces.
You wish the spark had chosen your toes instead of the pine straw, for it would hurt far less. You can pray for rain, for a tsunami, for a monsoon, for a hurricane to end this. That’s what you can do. That’s all you can do.