She lost her balance on a tightrope,

The expectations of others

And the lies that she ate

Finally weighed her down;

To a swift and permanent descent,

A crushing blow.

Landing on the familiar ground

Where she’d begun,

Bones cracking on the sidewalk

She used to decorate as a child.

The silence as deafening

As it was defeating.

And slowly, inevitably,

A rush of whispers

Came flooding around her,

Louder and louder,

A hundred voices

Echoing, even now,

“Your joy is fake.”

“Your pain is manipulative.”

“You did this to yourself.”

Gasping for relief

That was taking its time

Her bones began to mend,

A building crescendo,

Anger fueled by betrayal.

She thought she was drowning,

And began dreaming of time machines,

Revenge she couldn’t take,

And the love she thought was real,

But turned out solid as shadows.

When she finally rose,

She rose slowly.

The currents that once threatened

To steal the life from her lungs

Were no more than shallow waters

Growing quieter

As they lost power

That she refused to give them.

She stood slowly,

Cautious of flattering words

Threatening to drag her back,

Keeping those she couldn’t trust

At arm’s length

With newer, stronger bones.

She walked slowly,

Each step getting lighter

As she swore off old habits,

And as the ocean relinquished its hold

On the woman reborn in their depths.

A life of temporary bliss and deception

Carried away like sand beneath her feet.

When she reached the shore,

The waters dried,

Washing away the drawings

Of the broken girl’s sidewalk.

Standing beside her

On the cracked, blank slate

Was a love that was real,

Too bright to even cast a shadow

But instead casted them out.

She lost more than her balance on a tightrope.

But in the death of who she was,

She began to truly live.

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