Timidly I share one story, then only after assessing your reaction,
I share another.
As if feeding a duck, one piece of bread at a time,
Ensuring it will follow.
Once you are full, I watch carefully for clues that you will fly away
My pain too much for any other being.
At the first sign of ruffled feathers I turn my back
And walk steadfastly away.
I cannot bear the thought of impending rejection,
Spurred on by my damaged soul.
I’ve said too much, I silently chastise myself
And delve into my claggy pool of all-or-nothing thinking.
“I will always be alone. No one can ever love someone like me.”
And so I flee to spare myself the agony of what I’ve catastrophized.
If only I knew that misplaced feathers could mean
So much more than readiness to take flight.
It could mean empathy, “I feel your pain,”
Or compassion, “I’m sorry you had to go through that,”
Or curiosity, “How does that make you feel?”.
If I had stayed, I might have seen you were only raising your wing
In preparation to give me a hug.
Or maybe you were showing me what it looks like
To feel the pain and let it shiver through your body, then let it go.
If I had stayed, I may have seen that you would still be here for me.
I see that now that I am in recovery.