A TAR Tale by Josh


When the breaking began, I painted over the cracks with crimson & gold. I did not think to ask myself what was the source of these brilliant hues, why I felt weaker & paler with each stroke of the brush, why the radiance no longer lit my steps, or why the dark shadows inside me were lengthening. I ignored the heavy stickiness, too thick to be paint, and the magical sparkling flecks, too precious to be merely real gold. It was my own life force & potential I was sacrificing to maintain the illusion, and the more I surrendered my reality, the more essential it became to me that I maintained my delusion. I was pale, cold, and dim by the time life pried the brush from my numb, desperate, unyielding hands.

“There’s a danger in loving somebody too much…”

I had spent a lifetime wishing on shooting stars and believing all I had to do was believe. For twenty years, I had given away my most valuable possessions to the least-worthy person imaginable. To the point when, once they were returned to me, I no longer saw them as being worth anything at all. My heart was held together by a network of scar tissue; the pain was all I had to hold myself together. As much as I hated this new self-image of weakness & victimhood, I depended upon it as the only source of any cohesive identity I had left. Without the pain & the scars, I was nothing but dust & fragments, and the winds howled with vicious indifference.

“Change, change, change…”

You wanted this broken, patchwork heart to love you, and I wanted to believe it could. I willed it to work as it once did, the seams bursting, tearing, and ripping, each beat a contracture of dead tissue producing agony that I did my best to hide from your sight. For twenty years I had loved something fake, a mirage that existed only in my head; it had become the only way I knew how to be loved, too. I thought if I pushed through the anguish & discomfort, the remnants of the cells’ memories would return with time, that patience would be enough to restore the familiar patterns… until I realized that it had never known how to work properly. There was nothing there to return to but a roadmap to dead-ends & disasters.

“Love is not a victory march.”

I reached the end of the desert, and felt a few sprigs of grass under the cracked soles of my dry, leathery skin. I tasted the faintest hint of moisture in the breeze. I opened my eyes wider, peering into the distance, imagining I could see chariots rising, ascending to the light and the gold and the beauty…

“What a fool am I…”

And then I turned around and walked back into the sands, knowing if I looked back, my resolve would crumble. My pain is easy to ignore; yours, I can barely endure. Seeking the absolution which I know will never come, I give myself over to the scorching heat to be burnt away, down to the ashes from which I hope to rise. My heart cannot be repaired; therefore, it must be remade. I could never be at peace with offering this broken love to you, or any other; I would always see the cracks, and be dissatisfied.

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