not willing yet to take him
into my sanctum sanctorum.
He hadn’t earned that right yet.
I didn’t know him,
that was the point of meeting.
I knew things would not
work out in my favour
when he looked at me.
His eyes were cold and
there was no light within.
He gave me an up and down look,
taking me all in
and dismissing me right away.
“You don’t look like your pictures.” He said.
“How can I not?” I said. “They’re pictures of me.”
“Well for one thing, you didn’t have that.”
He made a hand flipping motion
as if he wanted to shoo the cane away.
“You didn’t tell me you walked with one of those.”
“Should that make a difference?”
“Yes. I don’t want to date half a man. What’s going on with that?”
“I told you. I have MS.”
“You said you were on meds. I assumed that meant you were cured.”
I was stunned, shocked, and felt the
chalice breaking into pieces.
It was different this time though.
It wasn’t shattering.
It was preparing for battle.
We walked to the restaurant,
the wind and cold slicing into me,
as if the wind carried knifes.
The chalice inside of me
was also breaking into shards,
long pieces that I could feel in my mouth,
pressing against my tongue and cheeks.
We sat down to dinner and ordered.
I didn’t know why I was here.
He had seemed so nice when
we had spoken before, so kind.
His true self was shining through however.
“So, how long have you had MS?”
“Since January of last year.”
“Must be kind of shitty. Living a half life.”
“I live a full life. I love my life.”
“How can you love your life if you have MS?”
His voice was cold and dismissive.
“That’s not a life, that’s a death sentence.”
“You have no idea what you’re talking about.”
The shards of the chalice had found their way out.
They lodged themselves into his his face.
Though he didn’t know they were there,
I could see them shining brightly,
catching the light like after thoughts.
“It’s made me more grateful for the small things.
It’s made me a better person because everything I do is a victory.
It’s helped me learn a lot about me and I love myself.”
“Good thing you do, no one will love you with that monkey on your back.”
I sat there stunned at his words.
I had struggled all year to find peace.
I would not let one man determine my self love.
“You’re wrong. There’s lots of love in my life.
I love myself, I have family and friends who love me,
who know me. And I love myself. That’s what matters.”
He scoffed. “You love yourself. How quaint.”
I motioned to the waiter.
“Can you wrap my food to go please?”
“You’re not leaving are you. We haven’t even had dinner.”
“I’m going to have dinner. At home.”
“We’re on a date!”
He was outraged that I was daring to leave.
“I’m stronger than you. I’m a better person than you.
I’m a different person and I love who I’ve become.
I don’t need any of your bad vibes messing up
what I’ve worked to hard to gain.”
“And what is that? What can a half man like you have gained?”
I thought about it for a moment
but the answer was there waiting to be spoken.
“I found myself.” I said.
I took my food from the waiter
and turned to look at him.
He looked as if he was covered
in shards of ice.
I flicked my hand and the shards
of the chalice came back to me,
slipping into place so that the chalice
was whole once more.
“Have a nice life. I know I will.”
I walked home, feeling the joy
of my own making filling my body,
keeping me warm against the cold.