Picking Up The Pieces

Part I.

Duke.

They met in high school. The sneakings in-and-out. It was perfect. Him and her. The monogram bath towels were practically made. He taught her how to be in relationships, how to settle down. His will always be the nights on the ice skating rink, whirling around in circles faster and faster and faster, knowing that when she falls,

because she always does,

he will always be there to catch her.

And he was. Every time.

She let him hold her through the night, and when the time between 11:30 and i’m-not-strong-enough-to-do-this arrived, she walked. Leaving him standing there watching. Watching her spin and spin and spin away.
He will always love her. That’s his cross to bear.


Part II.

Christopher.

It was an accident. She swore that it was never meant to happen. But the movement of his body drew her. His walk. The assertive cocksure saunter of a wolf. She knew full well that this one didn’t play for keeps. He was too much for that. He played for laying sweaty between cotton sheets. He played for the highs and the adventure. And she chose to play his game. That wolfish grin that pulled her in.

He taught her one, simple thing.

He taught her passion.

Reckless, exploding passion.

To give in to impulsive urges. He taught her what it meant to feel the pull of the moon, to run wild into the night. And then he was gone. Accident. Complete happenstance.

She knows that she wont ever see him again.

She also knows that when twilight begins and the moon starts to rise, she won’t be able to help but think about him and his cocksure smile. And she won’t be able to stop herself from looking up at the moon and wondering just where he is now.

In another day, in another lifetime, they would have been great. They would have burned a hole in the night sky and let it consume each other, giving into the throws of passion, falling into each other.

He was always more of a Chris anyway.


Part III.

Boxer.

She would say he was a mistake. But then she remembers that she doesn’t really believe in mistakes… so she decided to call him a ‘lesson’.

Of all his shortcomings, Boxer did do one thing very well. He taught her that it’s okay to have fun. For a while, they were together, young, wild, & free. Boxer and her. Riding through the countryside, with her head in his lap. She knew full well that this was probably the wrong and dangerous road to travel but…. She missed that feeling of another lying in bed next to her at 2 am.

And she loved the thrill of it all.

of the wind blowing through her long hair, creating a tangled mess that would take far too long to brush through.

She was born for this. To live. But when all is said and done, the party has to end. At some point the night ends, too. Even for Cinderella.

When the fun is no longer a thrill and anxiety lurks around every corner. Because she loved her uniform more than him and he loved the bottle more than her.

But his will always be those long, summer nights that end far too soon. Feeling her heart beat, beat, beating against her ribcage, knowing that this, this, is what it feels like to live.


Part IV.

Cowboy.

He was all she ever thought she wanted.

Hey, mister tall-dark&handsome, wont you come dance with me?

That really should have been the end of it. She was too far gone in the fall of his hair, the expanse of his shoulders, and the look in his eyes that just taunted that there was something more.  He drew her in.

Stop.

And there it was. The word ‘baggage’. She just laughed, this was far too cliché. So, she did what every other woman does; she started to climb it.

She always had the feeling that she wouldn’t ever reach him. Except at the hours of i-really-should-be-in-bed and i-know-better-than-to-encourage-this-behavior. But she still felt the caress of his hand down her back, the fall of his arm on her side, his breath on her neck.

That’s all it was though, touch. Fingerprints give you a name, but never a person. She made it her project to fix him. She prodded, just trying to find the music box where he kept the shine in his eyes hidden.

She forgot so many things. And for that, she really should have known. Cowboy taught her that some battles can never be won.


Part V.

Dave.

Dave taught her that there are bad men in this world. Dave taught her that monsters aren’t under her bed–they’re outside. They’re out in the night, laying wait. So, Dave taught her to close the windows. To run around the entire house, first the main floor, then to the basement (because even those half windows could let him in). Then to the second floor.

Her mother taught her well–make sure the windows are closed before the storm. And lock them. Lock them up tight. But, she didn’t listen closely enough.

So now she locks them and watches the horsefly caught between the screen and glass flies fervently, knowing that there isn’t a way out. Or in, for that matter. She finds solace in that.

But that night, she didn’t lock the windows. Instead, she ran out into the night, dancing in the light of the moon. She wanted to feel young and free. She wanted to be daring. And that’s when she met Dave.

She should have been safer; she should have been smarter. She knew better than that. Dave didn’t listen. And she knows, that even if the windows were locked, he would have broken in anyway. So what use was it to fight?

Dave taught her to lock the windows up tight. Metaphorically, of course… but then again… men like Dave don’t use windows. They use doors. They break doors. The doors. The locks. The hinges. They break them down.

No.no.no.no. This isn’t happening. This isn’t real. This is the stuff of movies; the stories of other women. This doesn’t happen to her. No.no.no.no.

Dave.

Dave taught her that there are bad men in this world.

Very, very bad men.


Part VI.

Australia.

She met him lost in the middle of a hot, dry desert as she ran from the pain of the past… and she ran so fast and so hard. He was a beacon on hope. maybe he would finally erase the pain. Maybe in his arms, the trauma of her past would disappear and she could finally move on. Maybe she would feel secure again. Safe in her own skin.

When it came down to it, he didn’t understand. He was too in love with the mirror and the attention of women to notice her downward spiral.

ashes to ashes, we all fall down, down, down.

Between the self-medication and bids for attention, she began to destroy herself. Through the you’re-not-good-enoughs and the what-the-hell-is-wrong-with-yous, he all but finished her off.

Curled and alone on the floor, she cried as he closed the door behind him, she knew. Maybe the trauma won’t go away; maybe she won’t ever be able to move on; maybe safety is an illusion she’s not privy to.

Using and abusing was all she knew. And she was the biggest tool of all.

She was never meant to be this girl.

The wildfire girl she used to be had disappeared, left hiding in that room being held down months ago, whispering no.no.no.no. And no amount of men or booze would be enough to make that memory go away.

Australia taught her that healing couldn’t be found in the men who hold her. She’s not sure she can heal herself, but she would be damned if she didn’t try.


Part VII.

Drew.

Drew was never in the cards. He was just a guy. And she knew that, but she was lonely.

The world had quickly become dark and dangerous without a place for her. She struggled. The family she created in the desert was gone when the plane landed. Her childhood home was gone. And she sought anything that could make the pain go away for even a minute. Young and on the run, she lived in the bars, seeking solace in strange men and chemical concoctions.

Struggling to find her place in the world. Or make it go away. She didn’t care as long as she couldn’t feel.

And then she met Drew. More of a stranger than a friend, but beggars can’t be choosers and she needed a friend. Until the night when the bottles were emptied and the next morning tasted of regret. She ran from him, too.

But when that long forgotten night resulted in a pink strip, she came back. And she knew. She knew that this is what she was meant to do. But Drew wasn’t sure. He wasn’t ready. But that was okay with her.

She doesn’t hold it against him. In all reality, she thanks him. He didn’t teach her much, but he gave her the little boy who saved her life.


Part VII.

LoverMan.

They had met years before and spent two weeks together living in a world of their own creation. But when her pain and his damage became too much, she did just what she always does: she had ran…. and eventually, she ran right back to him.

He was there for her.

He was there for her after she met the wolf. He was there in the desert. He was there when the only thing holding her together was binge drinking and one-night stands. And he was there when she came home with a baby.

LoverMan accepted her again and again after all these years, experiences, and faults.

He was the one who made her feel safe, even with the knowledge that the world is a dangerous place. When the light of the world was gone, when the magic dulled, LoverMan brought it back. He reminded her of the beauty in the night, watching the stars shoot across the skies and wishing together on every one.

He gave her the strength to trust in herself.

And she knew. She knew that in all her running, in all her adventures, that this is where she belonged. She knew that LoverMan was the father that baby boy deserved.

So, when he asked, she said yes.

She now feels whole, safe, and secure. Knowing that the creatures that go bump in the night are old memories and that she can trust herself again. She knows that she can’t find comfort in others, but they can help. She knows that the best way to care for others is to care for her. She knows that of all her mistakes lessons, her son is the best one. And she knows that she is worthy.

She knows that she is a good person who deserves to be happy.
And she is.

The Wishing Well

This is my wish for you.

I want you to know just how lucky you are to have so many to love. That when you’ve been held down, when you reach the very end, you’ll know there will always be a set of arms to catch your fall no matter what.

Know that you don’t have to be an astrophysicist to fall into the rhythm of the stars as they smolder, light years away, pulling on your burning heart. Marveling at the sheer beauty.

I wish for you to see the beauty in absolute silence, screaming skies, and the eyes of curious children– not yet tainted by the pains of this world, but full of excitement, possibility, and joy.

… as cliche as that is.

I don’t see why you search so fervently for magic in other places when all you need do is stop.
Take a moment.
and look within yourself… deep down between the tissues of your beat-beat-beating heart and the iron strength of of your ribs, sparks fly. It’s there.

I wish for you to remember that not everyday is going to be sunshine and dandelions, that some days you just have to take the hurt, take the pain, because baby, you are one of the few who can.
but i also want you to remember to let go.
and when you forget how, just open your arms and spin ’til you drop, smiling, knowing that this life, this world is a beautiful place if you but open your eyes and listen to the babies crying and the dogs howling, enjoying the chaos–because this way you can feel: you are alive.

I wish that you won’t ever apologize for the burning wildeyes starlight that is your soul.

You’re looking for comfort in all the wrong places. Open legs aren’t open arms, and the sharks are just waiting for you to slip. So don’t turn back to the dangerous familiar. Old wounds fester twice as much.

Know that strong people are far and few and that you will be pulling, dragging, holding, fixing others. Wearing yourself out, tearing yourself down, screaming for someone to extend a life raft because your water wings have deflated and it’s just too much to trust your own legs to tread for you, but defeat isn’t an option.

Understand that words cause scars deeper than fists. Believe me. A mistake I make myself.

I know it’s a hard, lonely road. I’ve walked it. Just wait for the song that matches your own melody; because you never did like elevator music–this symphony is all or nothing. But also know, it’s okay to sing until then.

Darling, I wish for you to realize that the monster under your bed is your own shadow and that yes, you are alone, but never lonely and that this life will fly at you, knock you down, drown you. Baby, please understand this because I’m off to foreign lands to fight wars and I won’t be able to help you. So you’re going to have to save yourself.