Battle armor

It is nigh impossible to demonstrate to someone how much you have changed when they are bent on seeing you for what you were years—no, that’s the wrong word—decades prior. So you shed that skin, like you do daily and unconsciously in a biological fashion, but with intention, with grace, and in silence. You mourn that little death quietly to yourself and only those who know you most intimately will catch glimpses in your eyes of what was once there being lost. A sliver of innocence stripped from you. Youth slipping away permanently.

You become harder, less forgiving, less pliant…but only just so. You learn to fake it. You play the cynical game everyone else is involved in out of necessity. But inside? Deep inside you’re still mourning. You’re still crying. You’re still pining endlessly and silently. You feel too deeply to do otherwise. You can’t be anything but a mass of emotions presenting itself in perceived, misunderstood aggression.

So you cope. You laugh at jokes you don’t think are funny. You smile at people you’d rather tell to go to hell. You pretend it’s all fine. And you garb yourself in black because it’s the only way to show it without saying a damn thing.

…and each day you do it all over again. No one else any the wiser.

You cope. And you sigh, because in the end unburdening yourself to them just makes it hurt that much more.

And you cope…

—A. B-H


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