I Am Not Here

I am not here

This is not happening again

You are not him

You know that I know this

but you can’t fully mask the hurt

that comes when I see you as him

even for just a moment.

I’m sorry

that I flinch every time you raise a hand near me

I’m sorry

I had to leave that restaurant that you like so much

because of the particular way the man at the table next to us had his hair styled

I’m sorry 

you fell in love with someone so needy and fragile

You tell me every night that you love me

holding me close

kissing the back of my neck with your winter-chapped lips

You love me and I love you

but I’m still learning to love myself.

You tell me that I’m the strongest person you’ve met

I have trouble seeing it most days

I try to see the me that you see

I want to be her

a shining example of courage born of adversity.

I’m scared every day of my life

I’m scared that my entire life is going to be like this

reacting like a cornered animal

every time I hear a loud noise

I’m scared that I’ll never be the person you deserve to be with

But I’m even more scared

that you’ll be here anyway

wasting your time

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