She has spent years
Deciphering the science of emotion and thought;
The glances, the subtle motions,
The washes of heat and the chills,
The touches, breathing, and heartbeats,
In order to capture the thousand and one ways to speak with words -
To capture them with words.
Woven together like a cloth,
That she drapes around herself
Against the cold currents of the story
She is stuck in -
Playing out her part, following the plot,
Without any knowledge of what the next page, the next sentence, will hold.
It’s hard to understand.
How wonderful, to draw that cloak of words around herself,
And there, in the half-light where your eyes play tricks and your mind can play with your emotions,
The words wrap around her, following the bidding of her mind and fingers,
Their obedience comforting.
Because at last she doesn’t have to struggle to stay afloat,
To understand the next page,
And the next sentence.
She is in control; she knows exactly what will happen.
Knowing is comforting.
And there, among the words, are her friends.
Her people, sculpted of paper pulp, ink running in their veins,
Each line she writes lengthening the thread of their existence.
Without her fingers typing out each beat of their hearts, they are nothing;
They need her.
Being needed is comforting.
Come be among us, friend, they whisper without voices,
Only the images of their faces in her mind:
memories of those who never existed.
Friends, she calls them, too.
They will never hurt her,
Or judge her.
They will always be there for her,
Welcoming her back into the comforting cloak of words,
Where, like the child hiding under the counterpane to avoid the imagined fears in the closet and in the corners and under the bed,
She hides with them.
Hides away where the uncertainty of her own story cannot frighten her,
Where she never has to doubt if she is wanted and needed and loved;
Part of the best secret,
Her own secret,
Shared with none but the ones whom she created -
The ones who will never give her away or leave her or lose interest in her.
But sometimes, sitting int he dark of the bedroom,
The glow of the computer screen under the blanket,
That cloak of words,
With its lines and letters,
Is not enough.
The darkness of the room is too much.
And there, alone, with only her paper people
In files and stacks of white sheets around her,
She wishes she had invested more
In the heartbeats, breathing, and touches,
The chills and washes of heat,
The subtle motions, the glances,
The thoughts and emotions,
Of flesh and blood instead.
~ S. J. Aisling