When approaching the subject of the pain pulsing through a chest full of heartbreak, it occurred to her that maybe stepping off the ledge and trusting the free fall was safer than loving again.

She stepped up. And spreading her arms out, she closed her eyes. A gentle breeze caught her hair, lifting and swirling it across her face. It paraded onto her cheeks and tickled the tip of her nose. She laughed out loud at the absurdity of it all. She laughed so hard, she could not stop laughing. She laughed until she cried. Real, heavy, hot tears poured down her face chasing gravity to the bottom of the pit.

When she finally realized how ridiculous she must look, she sat down. But when you already look like a lunatic, who gives a fuck what happens next. The rock felt warm under her hands. She rubbed her palm against the soft surface. She looked up at the sky and let the sun shine down on her wet face.

When she rubbed the tears away, the red rock left streaks across her face. A young girl approached. “You look like a warrior,” she spoke before her mother grabbed her by the arm and chastised her for speaking with a mad woman in a dangerous space.

A warrior.

She had no knowledge of the smears staining her image, only the heat that rose inside her with utterance of that one word. The pain still pulsed in her chest, but it was settling into a fire. She screamed out into the void that stood before her, like a warrior raging into battle, arms holding tight to the ledge and for the first time, she was concerned about the fall.

She fell backward against the stone. The closest she had been to the earth with almost every inch of her body touching it. There was no escaping all the mix of emotions fighting within her. If she thought pain was bad, she had no chance with sorrow, guilt, lust, envy and every other ghost that she couldn’t name.

They haunted her.

She couldn’t understand why a human was expected to hold so much. She wondered if some were gifted with only love and harmony. Those little girls who always had pretty dresses and lunches with notes tied to the handle. The young ladies that drove the burgundy sports cars that their dads picked them up in on her 16th birthday. The sorority sisters who laughed at the ones who didn’t belong while their mothers wrote checks to pay their tuition.

And if they felt all the same, then why the fuck couldn’t she have at least been given a break once in her life? Like they did. Because even if they felt the pain of a lover who walked away, at least they didn’t have to wonder how to pay the bills.

While all of this continued to beat inside her, she felt her insides scream and she gave up. She gave up on ever feeling comfort and security. She understood that all of these ghosts living within her were old friends. They had done so much together. They had held her in grief when her brother was killed and again when two of her friends got the same. They kept her running when the cops busted up the party. They held her hand when she told the random guy she’d met, while her friend was screwing a guy in the next room, that she wholeheartedly knew the whole purpose of life on earth was to show love and be loved.

The only true hurt she’d experienced since was when she tried to make the moon bid to her wishes. In that moment, just as in many others, she hit her fists against the rock angry at herself. She forgot the tiny speck that she was. She refused to move from her place. Even as the sun began to set and the cold air moved in. She shivered and waited until she saw the first star and she found her comfort in the fact that the star she looked at was as insignificant as she. And that star meant the world to someone right then. Someone was placing wishes on it, hoping in every ounce of their being for them to come true. She felt pity. But she also felt hope.

So she made a wish.

And then she gathered up her ghosts and packed them down tightly into the space they occupied before they so rudely erupted. She didn’t even bother brushing the dust from her clothes. Warriors don’t care about dirt and bruises.

She started over again and promised herself that she would do the same, forever.

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