“Fortress”

Fiction Short by Raina N. Whitfield, MSW

 

Chris began to question the wisdom of this trip. She wandered through life’s crowds picking clones of her listless mother and flamboyant unavailable father knowing that they would never dare live up to anything she actually needed.

She held her pain in a lock box along with her sadness and tears. She was too busy to be fragile. She was too focused to be tender. Her exterior was unblemished, and her boundaries laid sealed shut.

She never trusted a soul to care for her because no one had done that in a very long time. “I got it” she’d say never sharing a burden, never shedding a tear with a captive audience. “I am fine” she’d spout with confidence. She fooled everyone including herself. She couldn’t do it all—but she did any way.

She grew tired one day. She looked in the mirror and saw the reflection of a familiar stranger. She stood depleted. The reflection was her—raw and tattered. She was alone. Though, surrounded by people who loved her, but those who mattered had no idea why. “How can you not know why?” she asked.

How can you love me? You have no idea who I am.

She stood in front of that mirror and decided to pull out her lock box. She opened it. She looked long and hard at the pain. She reached out with the tip of her finger; she touched it. She felt it. The sadness. She cried and cried but never felt more alive.

She collected her happiness while coddling her pain. She smiled. Through the smiling tears she thought, “My pain? Just as important as my happiness.” She looked at the home she’d created and whispered, “I will never be whole or alive here.”

She took a journey later that day. She dove deep inside herself in search of something lost; the piece of herself that had vanished, like her pain. After a long dark journey she found a gated room. Through an iron fortress she saw a heart it was surrounded by beaming light. It was a bit bruised with nicks and cracks, but it was whole. It was unbroken.

She turned the key to the gate and walked freely into the space that no one had seen in years—a place no one could touched. She put her hand over the deepest crack. “I’m so sorry for not trusting you.” She said. Then she pulled out her lock box which now contained her joy and her pain. She shoved it deep inside the hole. “I believe in you now”.

She left the room with the door half open. Walking away she looked back proud. She could see her heart. Now someone else has the chance to see it too. She thought. Her fortress is still strong, but now the door is open and the cracks have healed.