I am sitting on a rock in the middle of the ocean, surrounded by beauty and vast nothingness. On my rock, I am safe from drowning. Nothing can pull me completely under if I just never try to leave. But, although the waves cannot drown me, they can still crash all around me. They are relentless, beating against me, throwing themselves at me, over and over again; refusing to ever allow me to let my guard down. The waves beat against me, not enough to drown me but just enough to slowly make my whole body wet, splashing a new part of my shaking, shivering skin. And when the water on one-part dries, there is always new water throwing itself onto me. Even on the nicest of days, with sunshine and small splashes, I won’t ever leave my comfortable home on my rock, because you never know when things may change. The idea of leaving my rock and attempting to be safe on the shore is too much of a risk. I would rather be terrorized by the waves constantly than to ever risk drowning. Some people are just meant to be sedentary.
I park my car, walk in, pay $2, and walk to the tanning bed. I look at myself in the mirror and remember how you touched me. How you would call me beautiful, but only at night. I get into the bed and lay down; the bed kicks on and I am blinded by the sudden bright light. I feel the heat kick on and it starts to make me sweat. For a split second I remember the dangers of tanning, but physical death doesn’t much bother a girl who doesn’t know how to feel. As I feel the heat hit my tainted body, I think of my skin cells dying and it should scare me but instead it is relieving to know how my skin cells will die and I will one day have a body you have never touched. All to soon the bed beeps five times and shuts off. I take another look in the mirror. Blink twice. Breathe in. Breathe out. Get dressed. Walk outside. The cold air hits me and the feeling of being a new person is gone. It’s time to get back to reality; this body is all I get and I gave it to you. Now I have to live each day seeing my hair curl in the wrong places and my hips spilling over my jeans. I have to live each day knowing how I gave myself to someone who never planned to keep me.
I have never had any sense of balance; I often trip over lines on a sidewalk. However, I have been living my life on a tightrope, taking small steps, afraid to move, afraid to fall. In December the knots at the ends of the rope started to be strained, and while I knew what that meant I ignored it. Sometimes it’s easier to act like you don’t know something is wrong. As the months have gone on, I have seen the rope fraying and thinning and while I was scared, I didn’t think it would break so fast. I anticipated a gradual break. Something I could plan for. I thought I would be able to survive by just shifting my weight back and forth. Relieving tension on one side only to push tension down on the other side. For a long while I have been standing on one thread, and on Saturday it snapped, and I fell, and I am still falling and there is nothing to land on. I don’t even know where the ground is, or if there even is ground. Will I land on soft grass or will I crash into a rock valley I will have to claw myself out of? So now I am falling, holding two thin pieces of rope and I don’t know what to do with them. I know I could tie it together in the middle and hold back onto it, but for how long? I could throw one rope and just hold onto the other, but how do you pick between the two things that held you up but also caused you to fall? There is no way to fix it and nothing to hold on to and nowhere to land. All you have is yourself and something you thought would hold you up for forever.
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