My hands rough and hardened with time, calloused and cracked show the trials of a life lived by experiencing. My physical heart beats in my chest carrying me forward, oblivious to the feelings and emotions I ascribe to it, it carries my lifeblood through my veins, feeding and nourishing the body that is me.
Beside me my love sits, resplendent in the light that spills through the window; my heart seems to skip a little faster at the sight. I am flooded with a sensation of joy, of happiness, of feelings that defy description for they are too ethereal to capture. My love is beyond this realm; transcends these earthly bonds and soars to the heavens filling my very soul. And then I look away and that feeling dissolves into the blank of the world I find myself thrust, a mere object among many meaningless objects.
I plunder through my days, struggling to be the man I was born to be, driving toward an image that was implanted in my brain long ago. I veer and dodge to avoid the pitfalls lest I fall in, grasping, holding that image before me that I must achieve. I will not be my father. I will not be the man of harsh mistakes, I will rise above that image, I will become…greater.
Days pass and the weight of experiences pile upon my shoulders and yet I hold my head high. I will not succumb to the lesser image. I will not be what I judge to be less. I smile to hide my pain. I laugh to shield me from the whispers. I breathe to defy the darkness that hangs looming, threatening in the shadows. My hands will never shake. My strength will never waver.
And inside my little boy cries.
My little boy cries for the loss of hugs, for the attention never received, for the love never found. He cries for the warmth of caresses when he was sick, for a sympathetic ear when he was upset, for the devaluing of feelings that needed to be acknowledged. My little boy cries for taunts on the playground, for notes stuck to his back that stabbed like knives, for feeling unwanted, alien and different…lesser. His tiny soul is injured and bleeds from holes that cannot be healed.
I don my boots and I stand before the open door, steeling my nerves and setting my jaw..I will not back down. I am greater. The glorious light beyond is filled with promise, hope, warmth and love. I glance over my shoulder at my love, hoping she knows, hoping she understands, I cannot be that lesser image. Here I cannot heal the damaged boy. She cannot stop his crying. No one can heal his wounds.
I step forward bravely into the light and let it wash over me, let it sweep me up in its warmth, carry me on the wings of love itself, drowning me in all that is needed to fill the holes of my soul and make me whole again.
And the man gathers to his side, a weeping boy, as he hugs him, caresses his hair and wraps him safely in his arms, enveloping him in love and healing his wounds; they both dissolve into sparkling pure light.