My Shadow

It’s been a while… Let me check – almost a decade. Foolish of me to assume that, just because we haven’t been chatting, you ceased lingering there, in a corner of my existence. But you were on the side all along, weren’t you? Lurking, spying, sharpening your claws. Waiting hopelessly, knowing that, sooner or later, I’d let you in once more.

And in and out you are, all around, embracing serpent who mirrors my own shape. You’re here to stay and remind me I’m never alone, but sharing my insides with a venomous tenant – bitter-sweet, almond cyanide. The last song I’ll hum, the final words I’ll utter, the complete vision I’ll imagine – it’s all you, my shadow. I couldn’t lose you, you wouldn’t let go, a host and a parasite entwined.

And now you’re back in the front row, mask off, no longer silent. This is what changed, the quietness is gone; you shout yourself loudly, you scream through me, you rip, and torn, and grind. You take my moves and replicate them endlessly, you dig out my deepest thoughts and augment their horror, you search through my unspoken words and repeat them in high pitch, you revive my filthy nightmares and project them in a loop.

Intense and impending, everything I’m too ashamed or rigid to be.

You are the face of all my fears.

They say one has to forgive so that peace could come at last; my hope is that in understanding lies forgiveness. Thus I try to learn when, and how, and why I started having you as my companion? Did you just come along and I didn’t have the hunch to make you stray? Or did I summon such a presence, long ago, in my childhood? To shield me, and listen, and not judge. A guardian curtain, sewed to my outline, almost invisible but full of gist.

If so, my failure bears no name. Far from a reliance in carrying my burden, you point your finger to where it’s most demeaning. There were times when I got the illusion of freedom, as if I could leave you behind and let myself stage a real life; then, just like that, you waved your lash and I ran back to you, a moth into the flame. I’m yours more than you’re mine, although I’m the only reason of your existence.

I tried not to be her. I wish I could be – strong, determined, relentless, apparently moody but always composed. To make it all my way and even go hysterical when the odds say differently. To curse, and swear, and punch with hurting words. I wish I were more like her. I so don’t want to be her.

I tried not to be him. I wish I could be – cold, distracted, detached, selfishly isolated. To build a permanent wall between me and others, to dwell in indifference, to regard endearing feelings as futile since higher goals are always there. To abstain from love, and passion, and lust, and hatred, unless they feed the purpose of not getting irked. I wish I were more like him. I so don’t want to be him.

Then what about me, my shadow? How should I bear myself, and you along, in this unworthy shell? What should I be like, what am I other than the ultimate shadow of my shadow? As infinite reflections fuse one into another, I just want to stand distinct, no shade at all. Or do I? I wish I were more like you. I don’t want to be you. I’m terrified to my bones I might slowly become you.

Please, let there be no more light. Turn it all off, please. It’s only in the dark where I can escape.

(12 ian 2018)

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