He was such a chubby soul for such a troubled soul,
I’ve gotten so used to being belittled, sometimes, in the subtle ways that it occurs. In a way, it is why I went silent for so long. Well, that and a swift punch to the face.
Ever had your bones wired together to heal, threaded through teeth and gum, the glinting metal flashing with speech, an involuntary smile?
Shock and pain, memories stored in vain. I remember the scream of my reflection staring wildly back from the mirror. A distortion of… me.
He spiraled down the stairs, autopilot of hand grasping for the phone connected to cut wires. Dialing to the sound of silence instead of a ringtone…
Hope and stupidity. And useless anger battering against the sleeping dragon curled deceptively quiet. Only fools rush in, only fools issue a challenge with unbackable threats. Paper tigers cannot conquer the dragon.
Slivers and pieces. Lights, yelling, a doctor staring at my face with a metal instruments and prongs sprouting from his hands like a swiss knife set.
He ran, his mind worked through the escape options he ruminated within a thousand dreams of troubled sleep. Brain always chose flight, and after trial-and-error, he knew the path to take. The car started in the driveway behind him, and he knew that the chase would be short-lived.
I sit at lunch, silent and staring where I had been animated and alive just a week before. I can’t see my swollen face, but I feel the catch of my tongue against the metallic taste. I remember to say nothing, to not even think except to weave a passable tale to field the questions, a lattice strong enough to hide the truth behind.
A helpless, closed lip smile crosses my face when a white knight pledges himself to my cause with fire of righteous indignation in his eyes. He promises vengeance, restitution, a hand at justice. How to tell the foolish knight that his vows would prove empty?
The dragon remains as far from his reach as I.
He sprinted to the door, pounding and screaming and yelling until finally someone opened the door. The car screeching to a halt behind him galvanized his fear. Ducking under the person’s arm he dove into the house and into the hallway closet. Burrowing deep to the back, over shoes and musty coats, he curled into the corner and focused on being small and silent.
I watch the shock and disbelief on his face, as the knight absorbs my words. His noble intentions bleeds away with his comradery and in that moment, my first friend becomes my second stranger. He leaves in a flicker of pity, I remain with my truth and its burdens.
I watch as he distances himself, and rejoins his band of merry men. He speaks, they stare in an ebbing lull that sinks beneath renewed conversation. They turn away, and I am left with my silence and solitude.
I need a better lie. A better lie, and a fortitude of commitment to maintain that lie at all costs.
For the truth brings nothing but disappointment and grief.
Hands reached in after him, parting his hiding place with the swiftness of a blade. He screamed and batted them away. His voice animated his fear, no, go away GO AWAY!! Take the dragon away!
I’m lying on the dentist’s chair, in an office of white walls and stainless steel instruments on a tray. The chair goes back, and I fade back into the light shining down on the shattered remains of bone and teeth and blood.
3 days. It takes three days of pain to get here, and yet, the pain has just begun. There is so much yet undone, so much pain yet to inflict. Pain becomes my new friend.
He fought against the hands and the words of persuasion the dragon spoke. The person was out there, holding the dragon at bay, and for that he was grateful, but still, he was very aware that the danger had in no way passed him by.
I have my lie down pat. I don’t even flinch when I say it anymore. Nothing makes me flinch except when the dragon extends its claw. Emotions frozen, my brain can think clearly: observe, analyze, and survive unclouded by pesky mercurial influences. The eye of the storm remains a quiet refuge of tranquility.
I sit in session after session. A listener. A shouter. A commander. They all come with promises of equilibrium, of a quick fix that I refuse to harbor. Lies I refuse to swallow.
In the midst of the strife, he heard her voice. A voice he associated with salvation. She would make everything right. Her hands of comfort pull him forth without a struggle, she tilts his head back and stares at his face with horror. The hospital is 20 miles away.
I tell the lies they want me to say. The words of condemnation and hate rattle in the back of my mind, but my cool, analytical exterior processes the harsh truth. Without the dragon, there is no life and no treasure horde. The dragon must return.
I stare at the tired knight before me, his eyes soft and grey, wrinkles iron weariness into his face. His eyes captivate me, I can see his turmoil and his knowledge, far beyond mine, observing me as if watching a familiar and painful play. His questions attempt to pin my lies, like darts to a board, but he underestimates the lengths I will go to swallow the truth and fall on the sword.
The tired knight and I both stare, secure in the obvious nature of the lie, but it is the spoken word that is the catalyst. The only words echoing within those gray walls are lies and deception meant to condemn the innocent and free a dragon. I have dragged the weary knight into my tainted lie, and I force his hands with my words. The unspoken why haunts me as I leave, secure that everyone else would be well, even if I remained utterly broken.
At least, she won’t cry anymore.
Screams, not his, but he read the terror that prompted him to face the mirror. When he closed his eyes, that look and scream on the other’s face continued to haunt him. He tainted the innocent. Damned in himself, damned by his actions, damned by his own machinations that led to this outcome. He believed he deserved it all, in hindsight, he should have done better -done something! He embraced the reaping of the pain.