There’s a certain safety in being kept in a box.
Being sheltered, sealed in that bubble where no one can get in and no one can get (you) out. Until they do leave and the safe illusion crumbles as quickly as the box fell around you. Fell around you so quickly that you welcome the inclosure, took comfort in the fact it wouldn’t let you escape.
Was it your heart or your mind that caught on first?
At an unknown morning hour on the fourteenth day of the second month when he snored and you paced around the apartment like the animals you see in zoos? The animals you think should be free but yet you were okay with pacing and waiting? Staying?
When he would miss pieces of you instead of you as a whole? When he tied your self-worth to what you were able to make him feel yet when he left you would feel nothing. Nothing that you would twist in your mind until it meant lonely and the only way to fix that lonely was to fill yourself up with him.
You felt wanted, you felt needed, you felt more than he did.
And when it ended and the box in which you had called home burned to the ground and it happened without a spark to warn you or a pile of ashes for you to mourn, you crumpled. Sank low enough that that all you could grasp onto was another man’s general apologies of what you deserve.
But there’s a certain safety in that world.
In that world there was routine, a rhythm, a pattern you fell into. You settled into the grooves and didn’t risk stepping out of them. You learned acceptance without the option to move forward. You stayed in the tides that had the power to drown you because you thought you could change them.
Because you didn’t know better, because you hadn’t seen beyond the four walls. You hadn’t unlocked yourself from the holds that only you had the key for. You had yet to learn that you can outrun shadows that aren’t sewn to your feet.
Because you hadn’t felt the fresh air.
The fresh air that stings with difference and the unknown that makes you want to retreat away from any hand that goes to touch you.
And now, out of the box, you slow down your thinking to walk among other people in the sun and there’s no embarrassment or hushing the laughs you can’t bottle. Streets become memories and to-dos and there isn’t a question of tainting the miles of sidewalks covered under the streetlights that glow brighter than the stars in this never-ending city.
Fresh air is good, fresh air is welcome.
Fresh air can make you breathe again.