“It’s just a statue, you know that, right?”
Yes, I knew. “Of King Arthur, yes, I know.”
“Are you done staring at it, then?”
She glared at me, her frustration, and confusion crystal clear, and broadcast to the world.
“I can’t explain, you know.” I tried to offer words, to let her know the statue spoke to the haunted parts of me. About the missing parts of me. I could not find the words.
“Fine! Stare all you want! I’m leaving!”
Maybe I was supposed to follow her, apologizing profusely, for wrecking her day, and getting side tracked, and not paying proper attention to her. But, she had no idea what standing me in front of that King Arthur statue had done. She could not see the inside of my eyelids. The memories of dreams running amok in my soul.
Just like she couldn’t see the parts of me that were gone. Gone forever. Never to be found again.
King Arthur stood there, and I stood, looking at him, wishing the ache in my soul, the exhaustion in my heart, would stop. Knowing whoever had created the statue knew the truth, and had the same dreams.
I’d told her a thousand times, “There are parts of me missing. Not wounded. Not scarred. Missing. Don’t get too close, you might fall into one of the missing parts, and vanish.” Of course, she didn’t understand, hell, who would? Who could?
Perhaps King Arthur, standing there, with his own missing parts.
It was the demons. Not the demons you think of. Nothing from a book. Nothing from the Bible. Nothing from the movies, or the stories of exorcisms, or haunting places. I knew that wasn’t what demons really were. That’s what people wanted them to be, because it made them obvious, easier to understand, easier to deal with.
But, I knew Arthur knew. “We are our own demons, aren’t we.” The lies we tell ourselves. The things we see, but pretend don’t exist. The carefully crafted images of who we are that we want others to think are real.
Too many nights, I’d seen that, seen the demons, in my dreams. Sometimes, it was me, driving a car, at full speed, into a building full of people. It was always a place I had to be someone I wasn’t. A place I had to lie.
Other times, it was me, burning bridges between me, and other people. Carefully pouring gas on the structure, then lighting it, then watching it burn, knowing there were people I no longer had to lie to. Knowing they could no longer lie to me.
And the dream where I stood on the beach, in the darkness of a moonless night, and cut my own heart out with a sword, so I didn’t have to feel anything, ever. So I could be what life demanded I be. Another of the walking dead.
I stared at Arthur, missing so many parts. Half his torso was gone. His heart gone with it. Just like mine. Missing. And I couldn’t even remember when I lost it. Or why.
I let her leave. Because I knew, no matter how I tried, no matter which words I used, I could never explain to her the things I could not do, could not feel, could no longer be, because of the missing parts of me.
Written in response to the prompt for week 150 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. You can learn about Miranda’s challenge here. The stories people share for the weekly challenge are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed. Please go read them all.
Intense. Very deep take on the prompt. I like it.