braid me

braid me into the woman you want me to be. or at least the kind of woman who is a person you can love. i am many parts- memorize them- when they are many. memorize them when they are three and then when they are singular and whole- a braid. take all the parts of me, make me three and then braid me.

swallow me whole, i challenge him. i’ve challenged them all before. i’m a pill and i test how they react to my side effects. will he notice when the side effects are different today than yesterday? take this pill and crack me open, it all comes out- defusing at a slow, predictable rate. i am a chemical process, are you?

collapse here, he assures me. build a home in me; he invites me with his eyes. i agree. i collapse. i’ve started slowly building in him, him in me. on the good days we build our house from the fabric that is braided from our moments, tenderness and everything we have ever shared. some days i have nothing but myself. on those days i still show up to the house.

and i’ve planted a garden on the plot just to the side of this house. the garden is my place of solitude: only mine. but it resides beside the place we collapse and collide together, the house in close proximity. i am still collecting the seeds, the potential but it is my perennial and persistent roots. i churn this earth, watch the green abound and it nourishes me.

i speak a language with this garden. i know this ground needs the water that only i can provide. he sees me in this garden and i soften and my tears fall. he is holding the fabric of the house we are building and braids and love. i soften yet again as he does not move but simply looks at me with eyes so soft they make me cry harder, the tears fall faster. i struggle to meet those eyes; it’s difficult to get used to being soft with someone when you have never known yourself to be anything but jaded and tough.

leave me whole. braid me into softness, tender love. braid me into a rope that guides us to somewhere only we know. braid me into the baskets that hold both your dreams and your challenges. this is what i ask him or god or both.

i don’t know how to pray but this is church. sing a hymn. write a hymn that braids your words together to illuminate this type of softness you have never known outside this house you have built together.

“god protect this house,” i say out loud every so often. i hope they all hear me.

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