Dear Friend

~photo courtesy of listcrux.com

there are these deep set, vivid green eyes staring at me, transparent, yet saturated with the depth of long roads traveled, courses diligently charted, wars fought and won, some lost, but either way, they never gave up  

their warmth tells tales of love, the kind which permeates her soul and never dies, the kind that grows and evolves, seeds selflessly sown and soil organically enriched with her bare hands 

their penetrating regard alludes to a life with sharp edges, eroded over time by love’s river whose water was made less murky as they filtered out the shoulda, coulda, woulda’s to see deeper, to finally see clearly their own reflection 

there’s something in these eyes that nothing earthly could ever extinguish; I have no doubt these eyes possess a radiance, even amidst life’s darkness moments

looking in the mirror, I see my oldest and dearest friend 

hello hope, I’m counting on you

She Can Imagine

She could still see him standing there in the doorway, paused. Struggling to keep quiet, the tears escaped, despite her best efforts to contain them. Biting her pillow, she muffled as much of the crying sound as possible. Oh god, more than anything she wanted him to turn around and come to her. To scoop her in his arms and tell her everything would be okay. She wanted to feel safe. She wanted to hear it and believe it.

Yet, there was also this part of her that didn’t even want him to acknowledge she was crying. Who didn’t want his sympathy. Who didn’t need his help. That same part of her who wanted him, but might never be able to admit how much she needed him. To breathe.

Hunched over the pillow cradled in her arms, she sat with her legs crossed, her back against the headboard, watching him through blurry eyes. Needing him, but that other part of her willing him to walk away. To save himself the ache.

“You are my life. My love. Why won’t you let me in?,” he asked as he turned to face her.

But he doesn’t know. He doesn’t know there’s nothing there. It’s a swirling mess of darkness and ugly. It’s cold in there. No one who has ever seen any part of it has wanted to stay. No one.

“I’m trying,” she said, desperately hoping he’d believe her.

As he stood there looking at her, she saw the pain in his eyes. Those eyes that told her he’s all in. Hell, his behavior over the past decade had proven he’s the most trustworthy person she’s ever known. Which makes it all the more risky to really let him in. There’s more to lose.

And she can imagine losing it.

-photo found on Pinterest, source unknown 

Stuffed


Standing at the kitchen counter, she stared at the bag of Doritos. She’d promised herself she’d treat herself well, energizing her body with fuel that truly made her feel good, inside and out. She knew how, she’d done it before; she’d lost 80 pounds naturally, with will, and sweat, and tears, and finding what worked for her, over and again, through every misstep and plateau.

Yet, here she was, staring at the open bag of Doritos, sliding in her hand, promising herself she’d eat just a few.

Oh, wow. I forgot how good these are. A few more won’t hurt, I deserve them. 

That few allowed a few more, and a few more, until the rest of the bag was gone.

It was so easy, even now, after all that hard work, for her to squash that reasonable voice which begged her to stop, that reminded her how awful she’d feel after. And she knew that awful feeling! She’d stared at the bottom of dozens of Dorito bags in the time before. She’d rationalized that voice away hundreds and thousands of times, allowing fear and stress to twist her thoughts ass-backward and tell her she deserved to eat yummy things, to be rewarded for her hard work and effort, and not feel deprived. She’d felt that all too brief euphoria after the indulgences, stuffing that rational voice to the pit of her gut under all that junk. She’d stuffed it away until the scale read 260.

It had been been an endless cycle of stuffing feelings, feeding them with food, and feeling guilt and shame. It would be now, too, if she let it.

Staring at the empty bag, she was sure her shame would more than fill it. It grew and grew, until it took up all the space in the room, permeating her pores, infiltrating her gut to a wretching level. Tears dripped down her cheeks and onto the bag….crack, crack, crack. She winced at each crack, the sound a tangible reminder of her weakness. 

Wiping away the tears, she walked the six steps to the bathroom. She glared at herself in the mirror. For a moment, she contemplated sticking her fingers down her throat, purging and purging until all that molten shame was out, flushable.

That’s too easy. I have to live with the consequences, that’s what I deserve. 

Again, tears came, trickling down her cheeks, dripping from her jawline into the sink, although she paid them no attention.

Oh, God. How did I get here again?

“Help me,” she whispered, to no one, the no one looking back at her.

-image found on Pinterest, source unknown; this is a fictional piece based on real life

Unsaid 


Standing at the kitchen counter, she quietly and quickly assembles the sandwich, squaring the meat and cheese and bread, just so. It goes into the Baggie with a pinch and a zip. 

As she methodically works, her thoughts are busied with arranging today’s list of things to do: call the school, revise the contract, do some laundry, and on and on.

Behind her, as is true of most mornings, she hears his footsteps on the hard floor, slow and uneven, tentative from sleep. As he nears, she feels the muscles in her body tense. She knows why, but she doesn’t want to know why. Already, she is telling herself, “Let him in, let him in.” Still, she tenses, closing her eyes, her body deceiving her, as usual. 

Enclosing her, his arms wrap around her, sliding in under her own arms and around her waist, his chin resting on her shoulder, and his whiskers brushing against her cheek as it locks into the crook of her neck. 

“Good morning, beautiful,” he says, optimistic. 

She hears the sigh before she feels it, knowing it has just escaped her own lips, wishing it had not. Closing her eyes, she wills her body to relax, but it does not, she is busy after all. There are so many things to do, doesn’t he know that? 

As soon as the last inch of air releases her lungs, that telling sigh, she feels it. The courage, the risk, the hope, slowly letting go – his fingers not so tight, his arms not so strong, his head a bit heavier on her shoulder.

Again. 

-image found on Pinterest; based on real life many years ago

Unknown

img_5057Sitting on the well-worn, blue speckled carpet, she laughed at her friend, Anna, who’d just said something off the wall, as usual. Laughing wasn’t at all uncommon, she laughed all the time, but for some reason this laugh had left her feeling this recurring empty feeling, a sudden jerk into reality, as if the laugh was fake and didn’t belong, even though it hadn’t felt like that. It occurred to her that maybe it wasn’t emptiness she was feeling, exactly. Then it hit her like an unexpected tidal wave, throwing her instantly off-balance.

She felt alone.

Holding her smile so no one could tell what she was thinking, her eyes scanned the room from face to face. Scattered about the room were the six young women who knew her better than anyone ever had. Yet, that made her sad, all of the sudden.

If she were to describe them to anyone, she’d tell them they were her best friends, her sisters. She’d do anything for them, that’s just the way she was made. Even if any one of them might not do the same for her.

When she’d met them all four years ago, it was like a whole world opened to her. She’d had best friends before, but living independently with and amongst these young women provided opportunities to see them every day, any hour of the day. In happy times and bad times, and all the in between. For the first time in her life, she had a place to belong.

She was likeable. Loveable, even. It was just her personality to mean what she said, and to say what she meant. People could count on it, and often did. She was dependable, passionate, and caring. She was open and accepting of others, even when people around her were not. Standing for what she believed in wasn’t something that was negotiable. It just was. Caring about people and having a genuine interest in getting to know them wasn’t an act. It just was.

Some were drawn to her for those reasons. Yet, those qualities also scared many people. Most, actually. She shared of herself, but not everyone did the same, or with the same depth.

Some didn’t want to receive that offering. Often, it was too much. She was too much, at least that’s how it felt.

Over time, she learned that many people wished to keep her at arm’s length. They wanted the benefits that came with being her friend, but didn’t always wish to reciprocate. Some would only take. And take.

The thing was – she never pushed people away. Especially the ones sitting in this room, even if it felt like they didn’t always reciprocate. Not only could she not risk causing people to feel abandoned or rejected…..she needed them. That was twisted and made no sense, and she knew it.

But, they were all she had.

Except, as she scanned the room, looking at each and every one of her ‘best’ friends, she felt so alone. It wasn’t the first time this feeling had hit her, but this time it was like an anvil on her chest. It was hard to breathe. In the pit of her belly, there was an aloneness that squeezed and knotted the muscles, rising like bile, choking her.

She knew these women. She had spent the last four years listening, even to all the things they didn’t say, helping even when they hadn’t asked, and giving them everything she had to give.

She loved them.

But, in that moment, she knew they couldn’t possibly love her, not in the same way. They didn’t really know her; they hadn’t allowed that to happen.

And you have to be known to be truly loved.

-image found on Tumblr; fictional situation, but based on real life