Maps and Mazes

I reveal my weaknesses like plot twists… one at a time, knowing full well I could lose the reader in the lunacy. The drama isn’t linear, the character is inconsistent; how many times do I reveal the bad guy before casting him as the hero anew?

I uncover my emptiness like removing bandages, and you’re ready for the blood and the gore, but you’re not ready for the vast hollow underneath the gauze… and I watch for your face to contort; I listen for which excuse you’ll use to make a break for the door.

Instead, you lean forward, curiosity brimming in your eyes, your brow furrowed, your heart receptive, your mouth open wide… You look at my infinite darkness as though it were a universe, and there was something worth studying inside.

You’re a scholar. You treat me like an ancient text; you seek not to understand the words as they’re written, but to find how they apply to the present. You’re not afraid of the fumbling… you’re comfortable to be grounded, even as I rush and flow and swell and storm and drip.

I reveal my tenderness to no one. As liquid as I may be, I’m steel underneath; I’ve seen the rust created by prying fingertips, not peeling lovingly, just curious. I know the specific smell of burning oil floating on the river as someone attempts to set fire to something they destroyed. No one likes to look their failures in the eye. This is why I take my time.

Any assertion that I move quickly denies the layering, denies the checks and balances and mazes that one must navigate before they even find out that maybe there’s more – I’m not difficult on purpose, but I’m difficult, and if there isn’t purpose in your searching, you’ll soon leave on your own. I don’t know if it’s treasure that’s buried, but you can’t find it alone.

I take off my clothing one article at a time. I share myself delicately; I’m disinclined. You read me like mystery novel, eagerly turning the page, but lingering to run your fingers over the pain, just to say, “hey, I know that hurt. It might be a scar now, I can’t go back, but maybe the healing in my touch can counteract the way it hurt so unrestrained.”

I’m allowed to be. You don’t seek to possess, you seek to see. I reveal my open palms one degree of rotation per day, and it has been so long since I’ve seen my bloody palms, no one has the patience that would allow them to turn slow…

I offer you my wrists, palms empty and facing you, this… is the culmination of all the rooting around. I’m unpacked now. This is it. I never said it was treasure. I never said it was pretty. I hope you find me fit.

Ashley Wylde
June 11th, 2015

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