Slowly Burning

The pain rises like a fresh blister from an oven rack.

Startling me with intensity.

What a stupid mistake.

How did that happen?

I was staring the danger right in the face.

Now it’s searing my skin.

Not enough to be visible – but just enough so that I can imagine

what a worse version might cause.

Just like your blows did.

Never in the wrong place

Or seen by the naked eye.

Unless I was naked.

Is the burning feeling really pain or just embarrassment and shame?

I guess I deserve that.

I am no fool.

I know when you place bare skin against raging fire, bad things happen.

But I let you happen.

To me.

Why?

How?

What did I do to deserve your love?

How can I never replicate that again?

Don’t love?

Maybe then I will be safe and happy.

As I go along, happily drowning in the mind-numbing activities of life,

I’m not really alive. Or Happy.

Doing to myself what you taught me.

Replicating what I said I would not.

But it was the only love I knew.

And I am too weak to not love.

So I did.

Again. And Again. And Again.

Building up more and more shame and guilt.

Screaming from underneath a sea of lidocaine

for someone to save me from myself and

all the versions of you I had recreated.

Again. And Again. And Again.

Finally – a reprieve.

An outstretched hand.

Fat, soft fingers curling around mine.

The first grip rips through my body,

releasing my soul.

This is what love is supposed to feel like.

Now that I know – I will seek this forever.

This little, squirming bundle of love has taught me

to walk away from anything that does not make me better.

Better for her.

I may never love the right way for myself – because I deserve it.

But I will do it for her.

She is salve on my burns – healing all pain

Giving me strength to pull myself from a sea of bad decisions

up to a different place.

We walk above the sea now.

Looking down at that turmoil.

Knowing if I fall back there, she would too.

I would die before I let that happen.

She will never know my shame or see my scars.

She saved me and I saved her.

I walked along like it never happened.

And found real love.

Now I know what it feels like – times two – so I know I can replicate it.

And can show her how to do the same.

She knows what true happiness looks like.

He gave her that. With me.

Something you could have never done.

I know we will all be OK.

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