There, do you see her?
Eyes like molten amber
frozen in time and tragedy.
You’d never guess, would you?
That beneath the papery pretense
the over-bright teeth and even brighter laughs
is a fatigue so deep
that it’s all she can do not to get pulled underneath.
Because she knows once she’s gone, she’s not coming back
she isn’t sure she’d even want to, really.
So she bakes a cake instead
and pours her unshed tears into it
drop by salty drop.
No cake has tasted more real.
(Heartbreak is surprisingly delicious.)
She lets the words wash over her
“You’re such a brave, strong girl.”
“You’re going to be fine!”
Smiles bitterly, and goes back to stitching herself together
scrap by shivering scrap
but the damn stitches just won’t
The days are fine; she’s almost finished the last knot
securing it with a couple of grins and a chuckle thrown in for good measure.
A chuckle echoed by her heart as it laughs at her charades.
She ignores it like always
stuffing her fist into the gaping hole inside to make it shut up.
And then the night saunters in with its trademark smirk and
she is undone again.
Nerves flailing; vessels splintered
It’s times like these that she just
to fold herself into a suitcase
coppery strand of hair caught in the zip.
Because she can manage quite well without the sympathy and cold tea,
thank you very much
It’s the void she can’t quite fill up
No matter how many
teaspoons of love
brass kettles of hugs
she tips in
Or cups of happiness she crams within
She tries, though
She tries until her smile dries up and her lungs hurt
and her laugh forgets itself.
She tries until she’s slowly crumbling
into a tangled mess
of nothing at all
But she keeps right on trying.
Are you wondering what her secret is?
How she wades through each day and survives
Drenched to the bone, dripping pain off every pore
and sometimes, smiling.
The secret, my friend
in the tiny ant that tickles her nose when she’s sleeping
the curious sparrow pecking on the windowsill at dawn
the bubblewrap that bursts into giggles within her palms
her sister’s tired fingers lining her eyes with kohl
the old lady who grabs on to her arm at the crossing
her father’s shaking hands squeezing hers tight
the laughter in her friends’ souls
burrowing their way into hers.
The secret, sweetheart,
lies in the way
the world is constantly shattering
only to explode all over again
just like her.
So she inhales the bitter stardust
and exhales the sticky darkness
and wills her aching synapses
to pull themselves together.
Because she knows,
deep down in her toes
that life is too darn beautiful
to give up on.
Image Source: flickr.com