Susan M. Conway: I wanted to believe that you could never be that cruel.

I wanted to believe you could never be so cruel.

We all live in our own versions of heaven and hell. Never simultaneously, always rattling cages, quivering masses of chaos in one dark corner or another.

We all want what we we tell ourselves we can’t have.

I wanted to believe that you couldn’t be so cruel.

But, I would soon find, that being a slave to the back of your head would be my cruelest fate.

The valves of my heart perpetually matted in the tread on the bottom of your shoes. I had no choice but to follow you wherever you go.

You warned me not to make a mess of things. And by ‘make a mess of things’ you meant, love is all jagged edges and mirrors, and I don’t want to see myself slicing your scars, little girl.

You were a knife to my throat and I loved every second of risk. Your finger tips and mouth the serrated blade that tugged at my flesh, ripping, gnawing, gashing, exposing my shame and hunger for more pain, to the delight of your demons.

My shining thing, my broken open, open, open, a choir hymn to your shattered closed, closed, closed.

Your closeted heart is still beating. That huddled puddle of boy beneath a black patchwork quilt is still a being.

I see you.

I saw the beating.

And maybe I sacrificed a shot in heaven far too many times to lie in hell with you for some moments, but I wouldn’t do a thing differently.

I’d still love you flawlessly, in all of the places that are ferociously tender. I’d still sit with you beneath that blanket, whether a beast, a burden, or whatever you are calling that ticking in your chest these days.

You’re just a boy, you’re just a man, you’re just a human, and you’re just going to have to adjust to being seen in all of your cruelty. I know it is fear showing its teeth, and I am unflinching.

Know that, I love you with tears in my eyes when you hurt me.

Know that, I’ll hug you harder.

Know that, I bite back when it is time to see yourself in those pieces.

Susan M. Conway

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