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Tell Me…What Hurts More?

So there you were…with family on a vacation to an Island.
Some of the people you knew and some of the people you did not.
The weather was nothing short of spectacular with not a cloud in the sky. Boats skipping across the water and people floating on inflatable rafts.

You preferred to walk alone and run your toes through the sand. The crowds were a bit overwhelming with too many beer bottles scattered across the beach.
People strutting around; flashing their muscles and skimpy bodies.

You felt that old familiar feeling…like you didn’t belong and the social scene just never seemed to add up. People looked at you but never in the way you’d like or prefer.
You took your chance on a girl…you thought you’d throw your line out there against your better judgment. She was full of life…energy and had a smile that could light up an entire room or your life if you felt the life in you.
She wasn’t like anyone you had ever met. She did strange things and acted atypically. You didn’t know if she was coming or going.

Yet you still decided to take that chance. You still decided to throw your line out there because you know in the pit of your stomach and at the edge of your soul that is was worth the chance; worth the risk. She responded only to rejection and relished the challenge of winning you over to eventually help you see things the way she wanted you to see them.

She helped you to see the stars and admire the big dipper because that was where you wanted to cast your eyesight. She even pointed to the stars with you and smiled. No matter how drunk that girl was…no matter what she said she wasn’t drunk and she wasn’t high and she paid close attention to your every move.

And at one point…when the feelings grew strong enough, you were finally able to welcome her into your arms and give her a small piece of trust that you didn’t want to give. And it is hard to give that trust when you feel like she is mostly not there. No matter how hard you try to feel her…she was mostly not there. Yet you welcome her in anyway.

You lay beside her after she wanders in during the early hours of the morning; drunk, wasted and high. She is lifeless in the physical sense but still invited you in with her spirit. You feel your stomach churn because something doesn’t feel right. You can’t put your finger on it and something doesn’t feel right. How come this girl is laying beside you anyway? And what the heck does she want with you?

You try and move closer to her and feel the anger of her breath. Her breathing is a signal and lets you know to be careful. Something is wrong and she is very upset about it. Intuitively and without any prompting you ask “Do you have a sexually transmitted disease?” Yes I do, I have herpes Ma…..

Your stomach sinks a little and a lump forms in your throat. With reluctance you move closer and reach one of your arms out to put it around her. She makes a sound that faintly resembles being comforted but she isn’t comforted and maybe she never will be. But there is a feeling of touch and that is a feeling you haven’t felt in a long time. The touch isn’t comfortable yet it is still touch and it makes you feel like you are connected to another human being that thinks, talks and breathes.

You fall asleep together and wake up. The sun shines in through the curtains. You lay there lifeless wondering what’s going on. Someone is beside you and you don’t have a clue what is going on in their life. Yet you feel the warmth of their company beside you. You turn over in the bed to look out the open window and swallow. She is still sleeping as the breeze blows in. She is not like anyone you’ve even seen before and her skin is different too. You lay there and continue to wonder who is laying beside you. You stare at the ceiling fan as it revolves in a circular motion. The ceiling fan doesn’t make you any happier but it moves in a non-stop circular motion and that is enough to get the day started.

Now you have aged and grown a little bit as a person. You look back on the time you had with her. You begin to think of the memories and of the times you had.

And only one question comes to mind and only one question remains…What hurts more?

What hurts more? Did it hurt more that it didn’t last and the times you had together were limited?
Or does it hurt more that that Woman was never laying beside you in the uneasiness of your arms?

And I have to ask myself; What hurts more?
Does it hurt more that it didn’t workout or does it hurt more that that Woman was never beside me in that bed in my arms?
What hurts the most is that I was always in that room alone staring at the ceiling fan, alone. And as I lay there absolutely lifeless, I turned my head to look out the window in the filtered light of the curtains. To see the sunshine come in and feel the breeze. And as I turn my head back I can only look up and stare at the ceiling fan in mesmerized amazement.

I just booked my ticket tonight. It’s a one-way flight to an Island. There’s a room waiting there for me and it has a ceiling fan. The window is half way cracked open. The curtains are drawn slightly enough to let the morning light in. I am there, alone. Utterly alone.

Now you tell me…What hurts more?
I promise you…I won’t say a word and I won’t understand.

There is that Woman again. She isn’t there with you, she is there with someone else and tomorrow you will wake up with the ceiling fan and so will I. I’ll look out the window see the light and try to think of a reason to get up.

I won’t say a word. I won’t understand,

Matthew R. Polkinghorne

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