When the Words Flee, I Think of You

There’s no going back.

Jillian Spiridon

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Photo by cottonbro studio: https://www.pexels.com/photo/landscape-fashion-people-woman-8746747/

I feel like I’m standing in the no-fire zone of a battlefield. On one end is the creative life I hope to lead for myself — and on the other end is you, standing there and reminding me of where I started.

Would I crave the words so much if you hadn’t goaded me on so much in the beginning? Would I still pursue this journey of a thousand stories if you hadn’t prodded me gently on a path I find myself walking all these years later?

I still remember how you listened to my stories as if I were a witch speaking spells around a bonfire. Your eyes would go wide at all the proper moments, and I would feel the puff of my ego take shape as if my story hadn’t been told hundreds of times before. But I allowed the air into my sails and guided the ship to embark on its voyage.

Somewhere along the way, I got lost in murky waters, and I still can’t find my way out.

Maybe it happened when you turned away, when the stories stopped having their allure, when you moved on to bigger and better things to keep your attention.

The rift grew, and I couldn’t find a way to build a bridge to cross the distance.

It’s always been like that — with everyone — but I didn’t expect it with you.

Stories ceased to matter in the grand scope of the universe you wanted to claim for yourself. You moved onto the adult concerns — career, money, quality of life — while I tried to stay in the playground as long as I could. I knew I couldn’t play pretend forever, but I didn’t think you’d leave me in the sandbox with my clutter of toys and fantasies scattered and forgotten.

You didn’t voice the deadly words — “Grow up, why don’t you?” — but you may as well have fired the shot. I felt the wound of it in my chest. You were the one person who was never supposed to turn away, yet there I was, left behind, just the way everyone else had left me.

I tried to rewind the clock so many times, but it didn’t matter. You had moved on.

You fell in love. You got the girl. You passed me by without a glance backward.

And me? I played with my dolls and words and threads. Each part of my arsenal, ready to be used in…

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