Bravery

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I slide my hands into my jean pockets.
Bravery…
I lean against the wall and watch as these people fight for nothing. There’s nothing brave in that, but of course that’s what this whole fight is about… whether or not they were brave enough to fight in the first place. There’s a difference between the people who fight for nothing and the people who fight for something.
I walk away, this isn’t my fight and I don’t have to watch them kill each other. I’m sick of it, of words turning into fists, of the anger that surges through your veins, screaming at you to attack and the sick pleasure when you connect that first hit with your target.
I don’t want it. I don’t want any of it, to be a part of any of it… to watch any of it. They don’t have a clue what true bravery is. The line between bravery and stupidity have blurred for them a long time ago. And I don’t know if I know what bravery is myself anyways, or if I ever knew for that matter.
I’m walking down the canyon side towards my old house, my family’s house, but I don’t stop even though I know they might not be there… I haven’t seen them in two years. I haven’t seen anyone I once knew in two years. I’m different. My left knuckles spell out love and I have family tattooed on my wrist, to always remind me of them… but all it does is remind me of why I left.
I thought then that I was brave, brave enough to be alone. I thought I was brave enough to live without the support or restrictions of my parents. I thought that running away from all they had done was brave, that I was the bravest of all because I could run and never see them again and it would never nag at me because I didn’t love them.
I was wrong. I love them with all my heart. I miss them too. It wasn’t brave what I did, running away… it was cowardice, and I couldn’t face them, not then… not now. I don’t want to face them because I don’t have the strength to I tell myself I’m too tired. The words drift apart as soon as they took form in my mind. I know the truth of the matter but it’s not something I’m proud of admitting.
I don’t have the courage to. I’m not brave enough. I’m weak.
And my knees tremble and I fall on my hands and sobs release themselves from my body, uncontrolled. Rocks and dirt cling to my hands and knees and my breaths are raspy and choked. My head throbs and I put a hand to it rubbing dirt on my face and I wipe my mouth. This is my weakness; this is why I am not brave. I shudder and release myself from my mind as my body shakes violently and I cry so uncontrollably I can’t believe it’s me anymore.
My life is gone. The people I once knew and loved, who loved me back unconditionally, the mistakes I made, who I am and what I’ve done to disgrace myself… all these thoughts race through my brain in seconds and I know that as much as I wish I hadn’t made the choices I made two years ago, I did.
This is my fault.
And I cry more because I want my family back, I want my mom to comfort me and my dad to hold me in his arms. I want the safety net they had kept behind me all those years, and the reassurance that someone somewhere cares for me. I want peace. I want this war in my body and mind over. I feel like I’m dying, and I wonder if I am for a moment or two and then the tears fade and my body relaxes and I realize I don’t fear death.
I laugh hysterically and stand, my legs shaky, and I walk once more to my home, my mind empty as I reach the steps and knock on the door. I wait and I turn a little thinking of leaving, of running again… but bravery hits me full force. Bravery is what I want, I want to have courage, I want to be in control of my fears, and I want my family back.
So I stand my ground as the door opens and a little girl stands holding the handle with my mother behind her. Amber. Tears press my eyes and I move my gaze onto my mother, whose eyes water as she steps around Amber and embraces me. I cry again and I can’t breathe, I can’t speak, I can’t even see.
“Lily, I love you so much, I always have, I’m so glad you’re home.” And that’s all she says as she cries into my shoulder and I cry into hers. I love you too mom.





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