creative nonfiction

Those women

Sometimes I watch them from afar: the women who have done what I did not. Could not.

I study their photos. Usually, black and white portraits; candids. Always without makeup. Always managing to capture a perfectly spellbinding essence. Small elements hover in the background and tease me with hints about their personality and interests. Sometimes I recognize items from when I was there. I cannot help but be curious.   While sifting, there eventually comes a point when I decide to take my own picture in a similar fashion. I primp and stage–find the best setting. But no matter how many angles or expressions I try, none of them satisfy me. So I consider asking my girlfriend to take pictures of me because she has a way of seeing beauty that I do not.

In the process of sifting I wonder why I failed. I know why I failed (because I was never intended not to fail); but why did I have to fail and be forced to walk–or pushed–away?

None of it really matters because, given the chance, I would not go back. I am happy where I am. Still…even in the most inane and irrelevant situations, my insecurities bubble to the surface and lock me into a state where I succumb to feeling less than. Immature and unfounded emotions. Comparisons cloud my mind and I lose perspective and reason:

She can do the crow, but I cannot because my wrists are weak.

Their now-shared porch is covered with potted plants. They surround the wooden swing where he and I sat and smoked cigarettes. Everywhere she is, vegetation thrives. My broccoli is stunted. Miscolored. Inedible. It hardly looks like broccoli at all.

She can run a half-marathon; I can barely run a mile.

He is not allergic to her cat. Maybe it is hypoallergenic.

There are pictures of the two of them walking through the nature park where I used to work. All along, questions were asked that she knew I could answer. “[My wife] reminds me of you.”

Her flightiness trumped my devotion.

Her boobs are smaller than mine.

These moments/facts are (admittedly) only significant in a mental space of darkness, self-loathing, and pity created by the opportunistic Beast thats lays in wait. The Beast whose movements deform perceptions into a false reality. Outside of that space there is no need for me to care.

As long as keep the Beast at bay.
As long as I do not let it in.
As long as it does not accept my invitation.

As long as I remember that to someone else, I am one of those women, too.

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