Now Reading: Cowardice Fled

Wren Long, November 2023

You want to tell me you're afraid? Fine. Tell me you're scared. Rip down the facade which you build to scrape the sky and for a moment, in your hazy intoxicated stupor, tell me that you're afraid. I knew that. I already knew that, because every overdrawn flourish's slow thoughtful blink was translucent to me. Like parchment paper on a baking sheet, I could still see the silver glistening dully underneath the christmas cookies.

Do you think it makes you special, that you're scared? Do you think that I, in response to your woeful whimpering, ought to bend backward for you? Do you think I ought to become your haven, your helpful, doting maternal somebody? Your pain does not demand my sympathy. I gave it to you wrapped in silver–blue paper and you devoured it, like a child and her favorite chocolate bar.

A past lover of yours wrote poetry, and I recognised myself in his words, more than I ever did in yours. I should have seen it then, as the old rhyme goes: one crow signals sorrow. You bind yourself to a state of servitude not because you ever cared for me, but because of your fear. You fear rejection, you fear loneliness, and yet fail to see that in the numerous instances you lament you are the only constant. You spoke to me of having developed secondary friend groups. Simmering low on the back burner in an abandoned kitchen, I imagine them. One cohort devoured, you move onto the next. Never caring, never thinking of the people you use as tools.

You tell me you're terrified of people getting close, because then and only then will they notice the rotten moral core you hide. I have never seen this core for itself, but your willingness to admit its existence tells me all I need to know. It sits in your chest writhing, coiling around your ribs.

You want perfection? Fuck perfection. To seek perfection is weak. Are you so unable to see the beauty and nuance of the imperfect, the flawed? Are you so unable to see it in your fellow humans? You must be, after all your main preoccupation is to melt us all down and leave us simmering, designated to the back burner until we are useful to you. You dress yourself with the mannerisms of somebody sophisticated, somebody smart, but it's all compensation at the end of the day. I wonder if you know who you are. You are so unwilling to sit and greet yourself. Constantly moving, to new things, new challenges, new people. Preoccupations so you don't have to confront whatever sits where most eighteen-year-olds have at least something resembling a conscience. Is it really all that rotten, or are you just too scared to gaze upon the consequences of your neglect?

You lay silently for twenty minutes, naked, eyes closed, ignoring me and ignoring the act we had just shared. Said some pseudo-poetic bullshit about how nobody had made you feel that good in a long time. Yeah, I am pretty awesome, I know. Get out of my bed.

The thing about all this, about life about friendships, about love, is that it is fucking scary. It's always scary. You are not special or unique in your terror. This is what we all feel. Yes, relationships end. They are not exempt from entropy's grand design. Yes, it hurts like an absolute bitch when they do. But, you collect people like shiny pebbles and add them to your collection of activities which you use to distract you from yourself. I am not a fucking Rubik's cube, I am not a pot of soup or a duplicate of a beloved stuffed animal. I am a person who has done immense work to look terror in the eye and find courage in spite of it. Your failure to do the same does not obligate me to baby you through the process.

So here I am now. Leaving. Add another name to your list of abandonments and describe me as an asshole to whichever toy you pick up next. As you flail in your terror, drowning out feelings with music because you are too weak to face them, I hope some part of you twitches restlessly. I hope some part of you wants to change. I, however, don't care enough to stick around and find out.

One more thing before I go, because there is some part of me which won't rest until I say this. It is possible to be angry without sparking fear in those around you. I don't care how big, strong, and brawny you are, if you must tamp down anger because your only experience with expressing it has frightened the people around you, that is not an unfair world suppressing you, that is your violence going untamed. Unacceptable. Learn and learn quickly the art of punching a pillow or taking deep breaths. Study, and study closely the practice of feeling without action. If you really do not want to hurt people, and I do believe that is the case, you cannot sit in anger if your only expression for it is violence. You'll only delay the hurt you'll cause.

Now leave. I have nothing more to say to a coward like you.