He told me last week that I was a coward. I said get it straight: I was a scarecrow, not a lion -- a fool, sure, but not a coward. Except I guess in some ways I am pathetically afraid, the person I am with him, anyway.
I still didn't like it. It still wasn't nice to hear.
People, through some fault of their own or none at all, mostly make you what you are to them, and also who you are in their orbit. The way they talk to you, you to them, how they hold or discard your heart, how they smell (this is important), what they ask of you and how they respond -- it makes you this being that you weren't the minute before you met them, the minute-before person who you will never be again, although if it's not right that's who you'll always be after going back to. It's freaky and uncomfortable. It's science. It's something else, isn't it?
We scrapped out this long, heartfelt, baffling road, he and I. A coward could never have survived it, would have dropped dead eleven months in, the first time she was made to feel unnecessary, inconsequential, distracting from the truly important stuff. And more than a decade later, it's never over, sometimes it feels like, except I think that calling me a coward ends the game, even if he's even partially right. It's not something I ever want anyone to say. It's not something I want someone to have even a partial hand in making me be. It's not something I want to be capable of on my own.
It is not who I am.
This is me a little while ago, in the summer time, my favorite. Flawed, absolutely. I have so much work to do, always, always, keep on moving, doing the work. Figure it out. Make the calls. Be so much better. Do the hard stuff because if you don't, who will? Try to achieve some semblance of what you're capable of before you die.
I still, after careful consideration of this assessment, don't think she is a coward, at least not in the ways that count the most around here.
It's better that we don't talk that much anymore. I don't think we bring out the best in each other.