Category Archives: Tangent

Hurt Locker

“The rush of battle is a potent and often lethal addiction, for war is a drug.”

I thought it would be easier somehow. It’s been years since you came back. Those days were a lifetime ago and you’ve never spoken of them since, then we don’t speak of much these days. But even then, back when that place was your life I made a conscious decision not to talk to you of your reality. That was my purpose then, to take you away from the choice you had made. One that I had never understood; I still wonder if you did.

The images on screen act as too potent reminders and I can imagine you there. Those same bathroom blocks where you would have brushed your teeth each night. Running water. Small comforts. Makeshift rooms with walls covered of anything that tried to remind you of what was waiting for you when you returned. Almost like college. Pieces of plywood propped up against windows. Little protection from what could attack from outside. Bottles of water I imagine that must be replenished every few hours. You need to keep hydrated. It’s the desert afterall.

I prayed for you every night you were in, and even for some nights after. Prayed that you would be kept safe. Prayed that you wouldn’t do anything stupid. Prayed that you wouldn’t get hurt. I never told you, you would’ve told me I was over-reacting, and you could have been right. I’ve never been able to not worry about you. Some of the people you let into your life, there’s little wonder. Perhaps that was where I went wrong.

I kept on waiting for you to make a mistake. Expecting it. Already braced for when it would come, for when you needed me. Always trying to hear what it is you weren’t saying, what you were hiding from me because you knew how I would react. Of course you would, because that’s all you ever knew of me. That person who always worried, who always showed up when you asked, who never knew how to say ‘no’ to you. No perhaps about it, I’m certain now. My own personal hurt locker, because that’s all I ever allowed you to be.

We both got out, eventually.

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Feeling so much more of everything. Channeling the characters I have come to know through the pages, I imagine myself invincible. Able to leap tall buildings and run at incredible speeds. I move differently. Positioning myself between those I need to protect and the perceived danger, the need to defend is overwhelming, as though I could in any way stop it. Standing still, statue like, watching each movement. Contemplating the next move.

I find myself strangely thankful I am not extraordinary when I feel myself this way. How I’d over-react at the slightest provocation. Fly halfway round the world just to make sure they were safe. Smash my fist through a wall when the mark was overstepped. Self-combust as I tried to hold the anger in. I cause myself enough trouble without the super powers.

I’m worrying too much about things I cannot control. I feel myself slipping back though there are hands holding on to me to make sure that I don’t. I find myself searching for that one voice who I know could save me completely, and I resent myself for making them that. For placing that burden on them when they have already done so much, for allowing this part of me to surface again.

Still, that one sure action I know would signify I’d lost too much. Still I resist that. Still that something keeps me in check. I know not to do that. No matter how much I feel, no matter how much I wonder. Shivers. I still get those shivers. There are just some things you can never return to.

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A shared name, but more than that shared. That futile search hoping what you know not to be true, that there could possibly be someone else. Hurting to see you there, but that smile still the most yearned for sight. That need to stay by your side, no matter how much it hurt, no matter how often you were told it was madness to remain, no matter that you knew there was no denying their fate did not lie with you.

Their request that they stay, yours only that they show up. Wishes granted to you both, but with a price. They can no longer remain who you believed them to be. Envious that at least they had a certainty of who their person was, all you had was who you imagined them to be, who their actions made you believe them to be. Where they were never wrong, you always were. Their loss far greater, to that yours could never compare.

Never belonging to you, but you always tied to them. Unable to ever explain it, those most likely to be able to understand it, never needing reason: this is simply how it was. No more. Time to step aside, and in doing so prove you loved them most. You loved enough to walk away; to give them what they thought would make them happy. That was all you ever wanted.

Take one step. One foot in front of the other. Soon you’ll be far enough to not hear their heartbeat and they’ll be too far behind to not hear yours break. Let it begin now. One foot in front of the other. Their hold loose now, unaware that you’re able to make good your escape. One foot in front of the other. Go.

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