Bent Words

Bent Words

August 25, 2008

He paused.

Sitting in the dark on a cold, hard and crooked cement step he paused as though he were cold, hard and crooked too. The light from inside glowed behind him, shadowing his features. His arms hung limply over his knees, a bottle of beer dangling loosely from three fingers, his eyes locked on mastering the cracks in the pavement and nothing of the world seemed to bend or blow or move at all.

“Are we done then?”

It was my question but I could barely believe I had asked it, only seconds before but a lifetime ago. To imagine that the thought even crossed my mind was incomprehensible. But to know that the words actually left my lips was unbearable and if I could not take it back, all I could hope for was that his head would jerk up quickly, his eyes would sharply disown the idea, everything in his being would reject the notion and that would be the end of it. Instead the question dropped between us like a thick and unending wall of glass – we could still see each other through it, our expressions were not lost, but we were separated. It was as though we each knew we could not reach out, as though it would be in vain, and so we did not try. At all.

The eternal pause, the miserable sigh, the whisper of words; be barely spoke them or needed to,

“I am not good enough. I am not enough. You deserve more.”

And it was such a thing… to stand there, looking down at him and listening, draped in the background of an evening so heavy and dark, as if I were only standing beside myself, looking in on the girl with eyes open wide with terror and anger and disbelief. I wish I was merely looking in, able to react, able to respond for I would have shaken the shoulders of the silence, I would have moved those quavering lips into speech. But I was stunned.

My throat constricted with the shock of his resolve and the words, the millions of words and phrases and thoughts whirling about my insides, were clogged within my chest as if too many were attempting to escape at once from the burning wreckage that was my body. I could not speak the emotion which overwhelmed my being –

You do not get to decide. You do not get to gauge what is good enough for me or for my soul. You do not get to judge what I deserve or choose what it is I feel. You do not get to say that I deserve more because this, this right here before me, is what I want. You cannot tell me to go out into the world and seek another route for I have already tossed the map and the compass and ended my journey here. Here, beside you.

You don’t get to give up. You don’t get to stop believing. Even if I have done wrong, you don’t get to just call it.

When you threw up your walls, when you had your impassable lines, when all the odds were against me and when you thought I would not endure – I did. I climbed and I passed and I endured. For you. I fought and I clung and I rose up to all your challenges. I did not shy away nor did I shrink into the darkness. So do not tell me that I don’t deserve this – this which I have fought tooth and nail for. This which I have barely kept above water. Do not punish me now for the few hurdles that I’ve missed, for the few times which I have not been able to keep wholly afloat.

Do not imply that I cannot comprehend the battle which I have been soldiering in for years. I have seen the blood and guts up close. I have felt the bullets flying by. I have seen the mess and the muck and yet there is no other piece of land that I would ever wish to stand on more and there has never been anything more worth defending that this.

So you do not get to decide. You do not get to choose what I deserve when you are worth the world, with all its terror and happiness and blood and glory, to me.

I never spoke these words. They were stuck behind the glass, caught within the frustrated madness of the moment, lodged within the pathway to my voice. Stranded forever in what could have been, lost to the darkness of a night so long ago, mingled with all the things I might or might not deserve but definitely do not have.

Written at 10:58 p.m.