Once upon a time.
Once upon a time there lived a young girl. A girl who believed that words could be mastered. This girl was young enough to confuse love with addiction – for in her mind, she knew no difference. She created symbols and motifs wherever she went. Speech failed her, but words did not. And more often than not, she listened, but did not hear a thing. When she listened, however, she maintained an untarnished faith in the words she heard.
She was coasting fourteen when she encountered the master of words. He was disguised, however, as an unremarkable seventeen-year-old. His presence solidified a stereotype; he was older, darker, and lurid in his quest for love. Spun from his lust of literature, the boy could read with college leveled comprehension by the time he’d reached sixth grade.
Once upon a time, a young girl met a boy whose charisma was nothing short of magic.
Within the time they exchanged, she was too young, and he was needy, broken, and wildly manipulative. Their connection was catalytic and in some instances, he fell in love with her innocence, whilst she grew addicted to his words.
Words; so trivial, so redundant, and so simple. Yet, so inexplicably controlling. In the same instance that sticks and stones could break her bones, his words would eternally mark her. His words, which enabled her addiction. Words that made it okay to leave her for another, to appear again, only to leave all over again. Words that – months later – talked him into her psyche, away from her companions, away from her family, her academics, her normalcy. Into a space where his redundant sweet-nothings ensnared and enveloped her whole. Into a space where she remained, waiting for the fix she could only find in his mind. Once upon a time, the master of words cajoled this young girl into a space which grew so vast, he eventually couldn’t fill it, so he left.
On the brink of demise, she examined her feeble body. Within, she found the extra spaces. These spaces weren’t obvious; there were no gaping holes or severed chunks visible. Rather, her body was ravaged by innumerable chasms and hollows, small enough to overlook and large enough to define her; cracks in the foundation. Perhaps a gaping hole was preferable – the equivalent to a broken heart – consuming, but easier to pinpoint and remedy. One large hole in a wall can be filled in. But these cracks she felt, this empty space, it unsteadied her entire foundation.
Nine months into her word addiction, the girl could be found festering within hollows. Miles away from her former self, she dwelled within expired voicemails, his notes, his letters. She knew she had no one to blame but herself, but she blamed him anyways.
Once upon a time, there lived an extra space in which a girl resided; a girl who was not only surrounded by extra space, but filled with it as well. There lived a recovering word addict. Subsequently, this was all her fault, which she realized in the saddest of circumstances. Yet, she slowly learned to fill the extra spaces with distractions. She encountered drugs, new friends, an environment where she sometimes belonged. She remedied her schoolwork, resurrected her family’s trust, and quenched her addiction with masochism instead. Yet, this new foundation stood a mere ghost of the old one. Within her psyche, there remained cracks and holes and the decaying animal of innocence. As some cracks were filled in, new ones spread forth. Her disrepair did not increase nor decrease in the years to come. Rather, it spread to different locations, as she patched and filled along the way. She strived to fill the void; and yet, nothing she tried, no pain she inflicted and no other drug she tried could fill the extra space inside of her. The foundation of her psyche remained perpetually flawed.
Months later, the master of words returned. This time, he faced a girl who had been thwarted and mastered by his words, and had grown bitter and stronger. Greeted by this unfamiliarity, he left. Only to come back, and then leave, and return, and then leave again. Frequenting her enough to make sure the extra space remained. As the girl lived on, his magnitude faltered. Somehow, the boy lost his words, and mastered silence. This was mind boggling. How someone who was once defined by charm and charisma could lose his voice. How the master of words could become a pantomime of the past, lost enough to cease speech entirely. Lost enough to master silence.
Once upon a winter night in the midst of February, the boy finally grappled to re-master words, and seek the extra space, so long reserved for him. He picked up a phone, wrote some long forgotten words, and she came to rediscover him – wondering if his words could rekindle her space. They sat on a bed of formalities and spoke of nothing. Later, when he kissed her, she realized something; this boy was human. He was not an addiction, or a master, and he had no talent of filling up her emptiness indefinitely. Whether she had put him on a pedestal or he had schemed it, she never knew. Her crucial realization was that no one can master words. Words are merely filtered thoughts, twisted and abused by manipulators, such as the boy who became human. Most words are not genuine. They cannot be mastered because they are infinite.
Extra and speechless, she realized that she was not a victim to any of his actions. She had invited him in, fell every time for his words, created a void, and welcomed him back whenever he saw convenience. He was nothing special, nothing to crave, just a boy. A boy whose words disagreed with his thoughts.
The next day, she lost her complete and utter faith in words. And years later, she would write books and letters; ones he could not fill.
(All poems original Copyright of Eva Denali Will © 2015, 2016)