On a story

“Look at me and tell me what you see,” she told him. It took him a while to answer as he knew she was actually asking and waiting for a truth, not a compliment. 

“I see someone unconventional.” 

“Too generic. Try again.” 

“I see someone independent,” he said. 

“Too obvious,” she replied, “you are better than this.” 

“I see someone difficult, hard, demanding, stone cold and unwavering,” he said with a blatant expression. 

“Now, that’s more like it. Now tell me why you’re afraid of it.” He froze for a moment, his eyes widened, his hands tightened. He didn’t expect it. 

“You are too certain of some things, too determined.” 

“Is that bad?” 

“No, no, it isn’t. It’s just that it’s hard to handle. You’re hard to handle. You know what you want. Exactly. That scares the shit out of me. I will always be one step behind, at least. I can’t follow you. You’re running and I’ve just begun to crawl. You look back, mind you, care enough to give me a look of compassion but one that also includes the decision to not let me or anyone else slow you down. I don’t know if you want to, but I am certain that you can’t be slowed down. Not by me, or anyone for that matter.

You expect…not compliance, but a degree of understanding that should I prove myself unable to catch up, I should give up. You expect too much of people, which is strangely fair because you demand the same of yourself, and so no one can tell you you’re being unjust, and that’s even worse.

Your look of disappointment could break bones. It can definitely break hearts. You demand compatibility while also requesting authenticity in oneself and mutual respect, which is a foreign concept to most people. No one tells them to be the best version of themselves while disallowing possession. People don’t know what to do with all this freedom. You rob them of the fairytale of belonging to someone and shedding any responsibility for who and what they are in order to simply become what the other wants. Because this way, when things go wrong, they can’t blame another, they can only blame themselves. 

Once you have become someone else’s, when you fail you are their failure, not yours. You take that away. You ask them to be responsible for what they are and what they do, and they can’t handle it. They can’t handle you. And they soon reach a point where they don’t want to. So they leave, or if they’re really weak, they fail often enough knowing that you will send them on their way, and they will be free prisoners again. They want to be yours. They crave it. But you forbid it, and they don’t know who else to be around you. They do not trust themselves enough to feel secure in your presence. They feel naked, empty; they feel they will never be enough, and they won’t. But what they don’t realise is that they don’t have to. You’re not asking for enough. They can’t see that. They fear you. 

They see what you project, not what lies beneath. When they look at you, all they can detect from some point on is how little they seem, how large you are and how small they may appear. They begin to prepare themselves for when you’re going to get tired or bored of them. So they never try, thereby depriving themselves of the chance to either fail or succeed. They then seek you after a while, just to see if you’re still interested, only with the intent of disappearing again, in your glorious shadow.  

You’re too normal, and they’re waiting for the crazy. When it doesn’t come out, this normalcy frightens them to the core of their existence, because without problems what will they do with you? They can’t fix you, repair you, console you, help you, retrieve you from the darkness and be crowned saviours, kings, knights in shining armour. You are the darkness, you’ve become one with it and you’re not afraid of it. You have conquered what they don’t even dare to acknowledge exists. You are everything they only ever wished existed in theory. The reality of you is horrifying. You can’t be; therefore, you must not be.”

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