Life gets harder as we go. In some ways, it also gets easier.
We get hurt, but then we learn to guard ourselves against future hurt.
Our bodies are designed to alert us when there is pain. If you touch a hot stove your nervous system kicks in and pulls your hand away even before the brain has registered what has happened. You’ll think twice before touching that stove again.
Some hurts aren’t as instantaneous.
Some are disguised as other things, or we tell ourselves it doesn’t actually hurt because giving recognition to the pain would make it hurt even more.
As a person gets older the hurts, disappointments and failures pile atop each other. It can make us lonely, bitter or sad, but there is an odd power in declaring that it will never happen again.
And then it happens.
Out of the blue when you least expect it, just as “they” always say.
And you fight it, tell yourself it’s just a fleeting emotion. It’ll pass.
But it doesn’t pass. It won’t go away. It’s this annoying, nagging thing. A mantra repeating over an over again in your head until you just want to scream it out.
Sometimes I can feel the locks over the gate on my heart engaging. Solid, sturdy sounds. Metal on metal. Hard. Unyielding. I yank on the chains, just to make sure.
Slip out before the morning light…
Tell myself my independence is too important to give up…
The farther I fall, the more it’ll hurt…
And then I melt in his arms and promise myself I won’t fall. I know it’s a lie because I’ve already turned into this pile of goo trying to hold myself together while all my defenses are stripped away. Complete, total, useless effort to stop myself from crossing a line I’ve already crossed.
This part wasn’t in the script. I’m flipping through pages, frantically looking for notes scribbled in the margin, on the back of the page, anything. I try to skip to the ending, to see how this will play out. But that part hasn’t been written yet. I flip back to the opening pages to try to figure out when the plot turned, only to realize it was being developed from the very first scene.
Maybe the most perfect love is the kind that terrifies you. I’ve said “I love you” too many times. Usually it was a programmed response, or a reaction to some emotion merely disguised as love. A fleeting feeling anchored by words that fade away the moment they are spoken. For the first time in my life I am afraid to speak those words, because for the first time I’m fully aware of what they mean. This time, the feeling isn’t anchored by the words. The words are anchored by the feeling.
Loving someone gives them complete, full access to the most vulnerable parts of who we are. And that gives them the power to hurt you.
And so I keep it hidden behind an easy smile and quirky texts…and slip out before the morning light. Praying he’ll still be around when I finally find the strength to trust him enough.