IMG_0339.jpgAfter the war, you rub your eyes and see constellations. It’s almost like wiping the slate clean. Almost. Not quite. There’s still dust. Scratches. Indentations at the edges of your mind. That place on your windshield the wiper can’t reach. You try and you scuff and you bust and you clean until you adopt the imperfection. It becomes a part of you.

When you finally open your eyes you see what remains. The debris and the glass and that pedestal where he left you. You wonder how; how in this dogmatic, fucked-up, vile world, you could ever replace him. So you sweep up the soot. You tackle the thorns. You forget the fragments and wash all the walls. Piece by piece by fractured jigsaw piece you put the puzzle back together. In your pursuit you discover the pieces that remain are not ones you started with. There are ones that are missing. Many that he took from you. Parts you may never see again. And that pedestal. That righteous, iniquitous, hallowed pedestal looms overhead like a dark reminder of what you gave and who you were and how much you’ve lost.

Until your mind is clean. The slate is reborn. You fill in the holes with new idea and provocative thought. You resurface the scars with belief and trust. You caution tape the pedestal and promise never to cross. You think, frequently, that maybe you’re just waiting. Biding your time. You sit and you ponder and you polish the steps hoping that one day, maybe, someone will come and stand on your pedestal, righteously, once more. The thought never even crosses your mind that maybe, the only person ever meant to stand there was you.

The door knocks. Once, twice, one time more. You unbolt the lock. You turn the handle. You blindly, foolishly, let him in.

—m.h.

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