I wear my story like an armor. I use it so that you can never hurt me with what I already reveal about myself. I don’t care if you judge me about my hatred of tomatoes, or judge the fact my faith has left me. I don’t give a fuck. It’s a story I shout proudly, because the truth is, there are stories I don’t say much about. The ones that keep me up aren’t the ones that come prettily to prose.
I think about my child often. Never born. His ghost keeps me awake sometimes deep into the night wondering if I would have done right by him. The haunted visage of the doctors and nurses, all friends, as they told me. The hardening of places in me in that moment for people who I thought I’d never let go, and how that changed me for the rest of my life. I don’t tell you that story. I don’t speak of her addiction. I don’t speak of her need to prove me the demon in every way that even in that, I was the bastard that caused it.
I don’t speak of him. How his death haunts me. In this you can insert name here, because there are more than one. My father – that bastard, still drives me, my super ego berating me for each decision I make for my happiness instead of my image. His fanatical obsession with legacy. His obsession with his prodigy – the fruit that turned sour. I don’t speak of how disgusted I am with myself for giving a fuck what some withered corpse thinks of me. What my cunt of a mother, in her obsession, thinks of me. What my fucking cunt of an ex, with her prettily worded letters and voicemails, suggest in the way only she can, that I need her.
She is fooling herself. But I resent each breath she takes because its one my son never had. I told her that last time. That’s when the phone calls stopped.
I don’t speak of him. The one who saw the mess, and took it in anyway. The one who tripped the dark side when it was well outside of his comfort zone. The one who plucked away the one thing that would have given me peace and told me just to go a little further. He who saw me and gave me a chance to hope. I miss him. I think you know that.
I don’t speak of women, because there have been so many in the years. Good ones. Bad ones. All the ones that fall in the gray spectrum between both sides. Fine women. Those who would never have a chance. I just don’t trust, you see. I don’t allow many people in, and when someone is in, well, they leave me – one way or another.
I don’t talk about that either. Because ‘leaving’ is my perspective alone. Casual doesn’t work for me. I am either in love or I am not. I don’t have gray areas, no matter what I might have you believe, or what my education teaches me. I am a hard man, my shell of armor are my stories. Each layer more solid than the next.
It all hides a soft center, filled with a cowardice I acknowledge only when I must. A fear of trusting someone not to destroy it all over again.
Yet, there you sit, patiently. You stroke my temple when I can’t sleep. You sit quietly when I won’t talk. You send me text messages with silly animals when you know I need to smile.
You wait. The steadiness of your being astounds me.