By Beth Winze
She stood at the corner of Westmont and Seventh Ave tapping her combat boots in time to the beat filling her ears. Her blonde hair strung in front of her face lifting and falling with the wind. A smile teased on her lips in subtle amusement to whatever she was reading on the phone laying in the palm of her hand. I felt a smile pull at the corners of my lips as I watched her. Envying the lighthearted vibe she was exuding. Her plaid shirt fell against her dark denim washed jeans reminding me just how effortlessly she looked like a model. Every time I had tried to tell her of her unrequited beauty, her cheeks would blush a deep red and she would playfully push my shoulder silently denying my claim. I missed the feeling of her hand on my shoulder. I looked at her thumbs tapping away at the glass screen of her phone and felt my heart ache at the thought of how gentle they had always been when she had held my broken soul. Her dainty fingers had somehow proved to be much more powerful then my heart’s veins themselves and most definitely more life giving then the very blood that flowed with every pump of my heart. I had never intended to fall in love with her the way I had. Every masculine thought in my prideful brain would not have allowed someone into the deepest recesses of my unexplored soul. But she was a knife that had found its blade slicing open the hardest parts of me. She had driven me insane with the persistence she stubbornly held too. There was no way she would have stopped until she had completely revealed every part of me. But as time wore on I found myself resisting her less and accepted her pursuit of my vulnerability. In fact, I had started believing that she might just be the one to completely shatter the remains of the cement fortress I had built around myself. She had told me so many times that she would have never let the darkness swallow me whole. She would take my face in her hands and her eyes would bear into mine reaching down into my soul drawing out the very words “I love you” but they never failed to stick in my throat as if I had swallowed sea glass. She would leave a kiss on my cheek as if begging to hear me return my indebted gratitude towards her, but every emotion I felt towards her was never expressed. The words I wanted to say were held back by the last few tendrils that would not allow me to attach myself to someone in such an intimate way. “I love you.” I said it in my mind every time I saw her, but my eyes could never relay the message the way I wanted them to.
She became my queen and I would have done anything for her. I was her soldier that silently fought for her when she was not aware. But the silent wars I battled were not enough to repay her for the person she had revealed me to be. Her tearful confessions became more frequent and I watched as this perfect person unraveled before me. My fist found itself slamming into brick walls out of frustration more and more. And she was there to grasp my bloodied hand into her own and wash away the hurt and pain every time. I finally realized that I was the one holding the piece of thread that was causing her undoing. My brokenness was breaking her. My soul refused to allow my heart to love and the very refusal was killing her. Those words were there, sitting in my throat wanting to leap out every time I saw her, but they remained suppressed.
I watched helplessly as I unraveled her from the sidelines. Her kingdom fell down around her and I was the fool holding the axe that was destroying her. When the last brick had been removed she stared at me, her eyes and soul raw and red. I had done what I thought was impossible. I had set fire to the sky and I was watching it burn down. Her final words to me were ones that seared through everything she had worked to bring out of me, “Baby this is your dark kingdom.” And in one fell swoop she ripped everything out from underneath me. She walked away without a glance over her shoulder. That silent rejection became my driving force to maintain and refine the person she had worked so hard to reveal. I refused to let the darkness swallow me whole. If not for me, for her.
I watched as she crossed the street, walking in the direction of the table I was seated at. I closed my journal that held every longing thought of her since she had walked away from me. Her eyes collided with mine and an entire dam erupted behind her eyes flooding them instantly. I reached out my hand and pulled her into my chest feeling her shaky breath racked with sobs. I bent my lips to her ear, and finally told her what I had been meaning to say for years, “Baby I’ll carry your throne.”