You seemed safe or maybe I needed to believe that. So I peeled back a little the beautiful dressing hiding many ugly foibles and telling scars.
You didn’t cringe like the rest. No. You just angled that pretty head and looked on like it was nothing; even perfectly normal. Hope spilled; soothing lotion on a burn, pouring over my wounds and making me believe they weren’t as ugly as they appeared. Emboldened, I revealed some more and even more until I was standing bare before you. Trusting.
I would have done anything; become anything; stripped the layers of pride I wore like a defence and lay it at your feet, gladly inviting you to stomp all over, your footprints on them a sign that everything that used to matter no longer does and only one thing does – you.
Had you reared back at the ugly sight exposed it would have hurt once and perhaps no more. But you reached out, blew a soothing breath at the gash of my inadequacies, healed them – physician that you are – and ever so gently pulled back.
When a heart breaks it don’t break even. Had mine broken I might have nursed the hope of having it mended, no matter how many, or tiny, the fragments. Instead it melted – the heat from the warmth you infused serving as catalyst – and flowed, mixing with blood, water and urea. Now it is impossible to separate them and salvage what is left.
Ice . That is what I see glazed over my eyes and staring back at me when I look in the mirror. It is from somewhere way deeper. It isn’t what I would have chosen, but to survive it is what I must become. Only the cold can freeze the molten rivers that used to be my heart so it doesn’t spill out, with the water and salt that falls down my cheeks, and then I am left without.
Where do molten hearts flow? Can they be gathered together again and congealed? I would have asked you, you used to have all the answers, but you see, that pride I talked about, I need its covering now, more than ever.
To be whole again is all I crave. Gladly, I would accept a return ticket to where I was before you found and polished me until I was brighter. That is what I say, but I know where it matters, that isn’t what I want.
Until the one who owns the heart decides they want healing they will never be mended. Sadly, no matter what is said, our hearts do not want to be healed independently, they just want to crawl back to the one who battered them. Only the one who destroyed them can right them again. But I’ll be damned before I find my way back to you, because I know you’ll receive me, let me in, make me right again then with pity in your eyes and a map to guide me send me on my way… breaking me once more. I’ll die before I become your charity case.
So I’ll rid myself of every trace of warmth. With a straight face, unsmiling, and a stiff spine, unyielding, like the ice that holds me together, I will go about my business and when the people tag me Obiakpor the cold woman and news gets back to you of what I have become, know this – Sometimes Ice is formed from heat.