The Real World

There is a place between the real world and the world we find ourselves in throughout our lives. In this other world it doesn’t matter if we have someone to hold at night, if we are alone at Christmas and it doesn’t matter if we look anything like we feel deep inside.

But in the real world, the one that hurts when we are in it, the one where it matters if you come in first, we have to wear our masks and hide and go seek isn’t a game. We have to bury our feelings in this world and parlay our emotions so we can survive.

In the real world you’re lonely most when you’re among friends and in the other world you’re never lonely when you are by yourself.

When the sun sinks below the horizon most people in the real world seek out light, they seek shelter in it and are always looking for more. When I am in my other world it is the darkness I feel most comfortable in, in the darkness there aren’t any shadows to follow me and when it rains it’s like my soul pouring out all over the ground, spilling all my truths across the pock marked asphalt and seeping into all those little crevices, slipping away once more into the dark cracks in the Earth. The rain washes over me, holds me and comforts me.

Don’t get me wrong I like the sun; I like its warm, caressing rays. But it burns me too; it wants to peel back my skin allowing all to see my faults and my secrets. So I play with it, I bare myself to it, allowing it to sear my armor, my suit of lies that both protects me from falling apart and keeps me prisoner at the same time. And then when the day is long I step back into the cooling safety of the shadows, crouch down among my treasured fears and watch everyone walk by whispering dirty things to each other, things that I don’t understand, things that make me feel small and weak and lonely.

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Conflicted

The sun beats in through the window from outside his car and burns the skin on the back of his neck, but it feels good. He squints to keep the light from piercing his eyes as he drives south along the river.

It’s been far too long since the heat of the sun caused him to perspire; it’s been bitter cold almost as long as he can remember and now the black leather wrapped steering wheel threatens to singe his palms if he moves his hands from ten and two.

There is a part of him, buried somewhere deep inside, hidden away, something that’s been there all along and though it doesn’t show itself he knows it’s there because there are echoes of its presence. That something makes him long for the bitter cold, in spite of his desire to pull his car to the side of the road and get out, and allow the full strength of the sun’s rays to wash over his self.

It’s that bitter cold that stung his cheeks when he faced it, that crept up under his skin like a shadow and stole away any heat stashed there. So why then does he want for it, why is it that he dreams of the chill that used to slide up under his pant leg like a thief?

It’s the warmth of the sun he knows he needs, it’s the gleaming off the pavement before him that makes his chest swell with excitement making him search for it, reach for it and throw his face skyward with arms outstretched inviting it in.

Yet he feels foolish, how can it last, it’s only a fantasy, he can count on the cold to be there mostly, he doesn’t question its presence, its bite, its bitter presence. So he leans his head against the window and feels the heat from the sun pour in over his forehead, he feels a drop of perspiration roll down in front of his ear and listens as it falls to the floor and soak in to the carpet at his feet.

He closes his eyes and swears to himself for feeling conflicted.