Saturday, November 12, 2011

"The Armor"

 I bought a ticket on a bullet train. A high speed, one track, transport that I can't control. The train makes no stops and although we've slowed from time to time, we always speed back up and continue on our way. I can see colorful blurs outside my window. Every so often I'm able to identify a tree or a town or city in the distance, but mostly the train moves too fast for me to make sense of the world out there. My luggage is piled in the row of seats behind me and I eventually realize it's the only entertainment I have. I begin to dig through my things, finding a few old treasures, sentimental ornaments, but I'm confused by the majority of it. These things are hideous, mishapen and though they ring the faintest of bells in the back of my memory banks, they aren't mine. I toss these things aside and repack my bags with everything I know to be my own, then I use the space I cleared and add some new things that I find on the train. It's all up for grabs, left here in plain site all along. I never noticed how many things littered the seats and cars of this train. I take only what fits in the empty spaces of my bags, grab a few things to stuff in my pockets, but I don't overpack. The train continues on.
I know facts about the destination, but I don't know the route or rail we're following. When I was in the train station, waiting for my number to arrive, vendors were all around me peddling maps and brochures about where I was heading, but each map was different, each brochure contradicted the other. I tried piecing together the puzzle, but for each piece that fit, another went missing. The one thing that was for sure was that wherever I was going was considered by many to be a paradise.I thought I'd find it to be just that and more, but  in the mix of information I was flipping through, I began reading about a place of sadness and regret. Both sides of the argument had several words of wisdom from seasoned explorers who had gone to this place. Maybe they were both right. It seemed that the only way to find out was to board the train, whenever it arrived. I hoped for the best and I felt in my heart that knowing was better than staying here.
This train station, this city, this life I had built. I looked at my life closely, and realized I couldn't build worth shit. I was a bum, living on handouts from kind people who passed me by. The people who loved me kept me warm at night, kept my belly full. I recieved a lot of generosity and love from a lot of people and how did I repay them? I gave them no answer to the one thing they wanted to know. The one thing they all asked and asked on several occassions. They wanted to know why I wasted my life so far, why I seemed content to just sit back and wait to die. I gave them bullshit answers, but nothing solid, nothing worth the pain they felt seeing me slip away slowly into nothingness.
I began locking myself away. I began hiding from them. I couldn't let them be my lifeline any longer, working to save me and giving all they could give.
There's only one way to stop being rescued from drowning, you swim to the bottom, dig your limbs into the ocean floor and fill your lungs up with sea water. I plunged head first into Hell. I tore myself down, ripped away any thoughts of a happy life and just as I was about to dissapear, I found a reason to stick around.
There is nothing like Love to make someone ignore the easy way out. I couldn't run from her, I couldn't lie either. I started tossing bits and pieces of myself at her. She never flinched, so I gave it all up. I told her who I was. I told her why there was nothing worth living for, because I wasn't alive. I could breathe, I could talk and walk and think, but that's not living. Life is being aware, awake and a force of change in the world. All I was, day in and day out was a tower guard, keeping watch over a person I knew well, but no one else thought exsisted. There was nothing evil about this prisoner. In fact I was the one who succombed to evil acts to keep this innocent locked up, acts that have weighed upon my chest ever since. I thought I knew better. I thought if This inmate was freed, vigalante justice would ensue upon such an unaccepted and misunderstood person, but I looked into the cell one day and saw death as a welcome escape for someone so very alone.
I got the keys and opened the decaying cell door. I was too quick and didn't think about how eagerly anticaipated this moment was for a person locked away for years upon years. A blur passed by me and the chase began. I was too far behind, I was yelling. I just wanted to help, to explain things, to protect and teach, but why believe the person who held you captive, If the roles were reversed, I'd keep running.
It was clear I'd never catch up, but Love came through again. My Love, my girl, waiting to embrace and comfort the former inmate.
Love was angry, confused and worried. I don't blame her. She saw what I had done all these years. She knew I had to make this right. She knew I could be strong and she knew I wasn't evil, just confused, but I could only protect, I could never teach the prisoner, after all, I'm nothing more than armor.
I watched from a distance at first, as Love began her lessons. She was an excellent teacher. She had her hands full, but I think she liked that because she never walked away in frustration, instead she pushed the prisoner to understand what it meant to look inside, to allow a person to develop, to be human and to be female. The prisoner became a person and that person was a perfectly happy girl.
I grew closer to both of them, but I knew I was only armor, only this young girl's strength and perserverance. I knew I wasn't always going to be around, my job ended after this train ride. I'd protect both women, I'd do the fighting if it came down to it, but once the journey was over, I wouldn't exsist, but my traits would live within this girl, my evil deed would be a debt payed and Love would have a person in her life that brought her happiness, that would protect her.
The train keeps going. The world outside is no more than static and flashes of color. I focused on the fight ahead, preparing myself for the one thing that was worth living for.
The young girl enters the train car from the back. She shoots me a smile and she knows I'm on her side now. She starts leafing through the clutter all around and finds the pile of hazy memories I tossed out. She gathers them up and sits down in the seat next to me. I'm overjoyed about the fight now. I can't wait for the first person who doesn't have the decency to hold his toungue.
She picks through the things I tossed away and she giggles and laughs at the items she once owned. She tries to make a joke about having bad taste as she remembers these items clear as day. The joke gets cut out by laughter. I look at her, she's dressed well, looks cute, pretty, beautiful.
I wonder how she is so normal and lovely after all those years locked up. I figure it out there and then. I was the armor, but the strength and the perserverance was hers all along.


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