The Man from the Pub

image from Scarlet's Real Magic
image from Scarlet’s Real Magic

There is a man at the pub, a very kind, gentle, thoughtful man, who thinks he likes me.  He doesn’t know. I wish I could tell him.

 

I wish I could tell him that I am not the smiling, fun-loving face that I wear in public. I wish I could tell him that there is more to me than this. I enjoy a drink, a song, a hug; I have not lied about these things, but there is more.

 

I will love you, but I will also fight you. Not with nails and teeth; I do not bite.  I will fight you quietly, slowly, softly, so smoothly that you might not see it coming until you have nearly lost.  It will seem as though everything is completely normal and we are enjoying the night as we ever do.

 

But then I will become withdrawn. You will want to pull me close, caress me gently and ask what is the matter. I won’t reply, or if I do it will be some pithy platitude, some small smile, some distraction to push you away. You will wish to leave me be, but you mustn’t. You must be stern in the face of my silliness. You must be firm with me; gentleness has been tried and it has failed. I am not yet ready.

 

You must drive me out of the solitary hole I have dug for myself. I will not want to leave, and I will fight you. You will not know you have succeeded until I am kicking and screaming, clawing for the depths of darkness from which you must rescue me. This process is painful- for you and much much more so for me.  It must be this way; it is what I am.

 

I wish I could tell him all of these things. I have tried, and I have failed.   Perhaps I am too cautious, too unwilling to to take the risk, to open myself, to be vulnerable. Perhaps I am seeing that he is not ready to hear these things, that they would not be in any way helpful to him or to us.  Perhaps I am just scared.

 

Whatever the reason, I do not say these things.  Instead I say “I am seeing someone else,” and I see how the lie hurts him. But I suspect that the truth would hurt more.

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