Sort of sullenly, I take the hint that I should leave.
I crinkle the scraps of tuna fish and bread crust
and seal them in the wrinkled cling wrap.
Brow furrowed, cheeks flushed, I stumble home.
My bright yellow backpack trails its straps behind me
and I turn my thoughts to all of the litter and dead leaves that tangle in them.
They are symbols of my flaws and -more selfishly- my hurt.
I am being unreasonable.
If I turned back and gave in
the simple love between children could be restored.
Shame stalls me. I should not have cried and called him foul names.
But, pride drives me onward.
He broke my favourite crayon.
I do not turn back.
My hands are of average size. To everyone else they are still much smaller.
I insist I be treated as a “grown-up”.
I swing back and forth between monkey bars
dreaming secretly of the tips of cigarettes
floating in the ponds of rainy days.
I still don’t know about the change slot in phone booths
hiding dirty needles.
The trouble with confusion is perhaps not
the uncomfortable nature of the feeling itself
but its duration. It never will seize a body fully and completely,
rendering it incapable for a few moments of intense emotion.
Instead, it drifts in and out through the window left open for impassive thoughts.
I am sure of only the things others decide for me.
It is safer, I cannot change their minds.
I can tell you all about myself, but I couldn’t tell you who I am.
I am a painter, a writer, a full grown child
groping my way through indecision.
Even that, I cannot commit to.
Addicted to the thrill of finding the “meaning” of my life, I find a new one every day.
I lie. I do everything I will tell my children not to do.
I am selfish still, and despite the fact it was so long ago
the pain of the broken crayon is still with me, only now it is a broken trust.
I look to the future. There, I will be complete.
I envision shades of happiness in golden hues,
but I am unsure of what they are.
Sunshine Yellow, Sherbet Orange and Creamy Manila are the swatches of my adult life.
Impossible aspirations not only frustrate, they exhilarate.
I foresee an eventual contentedness to reward the passion of a confused mind.
The silent virtue of absolution is routine.
My intake of food, work, play and love
are restricted to designated hours of the day.
I have reached the height of my self-actualization,
and yet, I am unable to rid myself of the panic and queasiness
that stirs in my belly and rises in my throat.
For an eternity, I have slaved for the present.
But the “what comes after this” resides in a series of empty spaces
that I until now I hadn’t known I had to fill.
I am faced with the reality
that my life may require more than one absolution.
Bel is a writer and editor based in Toronto, Canada. She hopes to one day complete her lifelong goal of travelling between universes. Find her on Twitter, or head to literaryleftovers.wordpress.com to see more of her poetry.