The Words That Hold Us.

There are words that know how to lodge in the spine, when there is no daylight. They crawl and writhe, claw into the flesh. The spine is a dancer, then. Lumbar, then kyphosed. The years pass, and you find that these words,

(These words,)

(These words.)

have made a ruin out of you. Night in, night out, your back is sore from bending to make space for other people.

There are words that know how to lodge in the spine, when there is no daylight.

6.18. Your heart is thumping wildly in your chest. Urgent. You reach for sanity beneath your pillow and it is not there. You panic, begging your memory to remind you where you last left it. Please, please, not today. Yet still, there is silence. You roll over. Through your window there is light, so much light. And today, it is killing you.

I got you something.

Huh? You weren’t listening.


I got you something.

Oh. You raise your eyebrows, forcing a smile. This is the worst meal you have ever made for the two of you, and you’re wondering how he is still in love with you. Not because of the meal, but because you feel you fall short. It’s a thing you carry because no one else seems to want it; this sense, that one can not be good enough even if they tried. It is a clever, fat, thing. And it is lazy, this unhappiness. It will not let your stomach rest.

Hey are you listening? Look.

He smiles, and so you look.

There is a small box, and here is the man you love, and suddenly there is everything you’ve been running from your whole life at the table.

Just like that, you are 10 years old again. 11 years. 15. 20. 22. 23. Continuing, continuing. You find yourself, loudly, in the exact places that broke you. You are back to everything you have been up until last night, hearing your father beg and threaten and weep, do not end up like your mother.

I hope you do not end up like your mother! I hope you do not end up like your mother!

Sweetheart, are you alright? Say something.

This is the life you have found settling itself tightly on your skin. Your body, it knows how to bend. Your back, it knows how to curve until it threatens to snap. And you know that you have been stepping sharply on your life all the while. Trying to be the difference. Trying to fix your mother by fixing yourself, and all the places she hurt in other people. Bending. Bending. Bending.

Sweetheart? I need to ask you something..

You will not end up like your mother, you will not give your heart the chance to.

Will you marry me?

And that is when you run.

Like what you read? Give S. a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.