Shoebox Hornet

There was something in the pantomime of your eyes. A quick flick down and to the right when you said you loved me. We were never the same again. Loosing you was just the beginning.

I remember distinctly sliding down the walls of doubt, a painful spiral, and my fingers slipping down the greasy bowl as I tumbled into her depths. I remained there for a six months and a day. Touching on her cruel suggestion in a routine matter. I believed all she had to dispense. I went native. We had a party down there, Doubt and I. Sitting in her dark, I would separate out the chaff, a neat segregation of all my parts, until I was naked and empty. Loving her for all the comfort she provided, I became dependent on her ceaseless gaze. I would hold up traits I thought gems to her penetrating stare, and they explode in my hand, catapulting shards of glass into the air. Breathing in the dust would further tighten the tourniquet on my heart. All parts of me would have to be rebuilt. Believing all this to be true, I concluded there was simply nothing worth salvaging. Soon a new soul grew within me from exposure to hazard. She was fledgling child colder and crueler than the original.

When I climbed out of the well, I had a slight limp and a tick in my gaze. I walked around with an enormous chip on my shoulder. My skin had grown used to the deluge and formed permanent armor that caused as much pain as it shielded. Try as I might, I could not remove the tarnish, so I began to wear it like a fashion statement. My eyes had the look of famine. If I opened the lids too wide, they would drop out like lumps of coal. I would have to fumble around to reinsert them as they skirted away from me. My mouth would spew forth synthesized sentences, a robotic reaction to returning to the shadow of the living. In addition to the mechanical sounds in my throat, and gears turning beneath, a strange dust would exude when I spoke, like the faint stirring of attic sediment. I envisioned insects crawling from my esophagus, creatures both strange and fascinating. They were a giddy display of legs and antennae, centipedes, pill bugs, slugs, and spiders of all shapes, sizes, and colors. I was like the hoisting of a floorboard. Lift too much an all the riff-raff would come spewing forth. I held a fixed gaze, hoping to conceal the sheer panic underneath when having to engage the mortal world. Six months and a day. That was the prescription for this journey.

I have grown beyond this, though the tarnish still remains. You still exist, however, as a slight buzzing in my peripheral. Like a hornet trapped in a shoebox at the bottom of my closet, threatening to release upon an accidental tripping of the lid. I’ve compartmentalized you to the nagging of an insect. You were my vital mirror, both terrible and lovely. You were my soul mate sent to destroy me and lift me up all at the same time. I am reborn.


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