“Steps” By Elena Lucia Perez

She looks at the ground, the sky, the trees; anywhere but her own heart.  She must, at all costs, keep the poison from entering her mind.  The physical effort of this has left her drained, devoid of all feeling, like an empty shell just pretending.

Liar.

Her face feels like plastic.  She can’t tell if what she sees in the mirror is a grimace or a smile.  Tears smear her cheeks.

Deep breaths, but there’s no relief.  She doubts there ever will be.  

If she could forget – but no, she doesn’t want to forget.  She wants to remember – every little detail, even the end.  Especially the end.  As if she could change it somehow.  Make it better.  But better for whom?  

Sometimes she has dreams: things aren’t broken.  She wakes up with a light heart, happier that she’s been in a while.  But, like beaten down smog after a rainy day, the memories seep back in, silently suffocating, and the world loses its luster.  

What if the whole thing never happened?  Would she be the same person she is now?  Definitely not.  And she can’t begin to imagine how very different her life could’ve become.  

So she pretends.  Nothing is different.  She doesn’t feel like a part of her has been ripped out and torn to shreds.  She is whole, she is strong.  She is loved.  And most importantly, her smile is real.

Elena Lucia Perez likes nature and hugs and fruit pies and her spirit animal is a dragon. 

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