When I Look at Her (Writing Prompt #24)
The prompt was:
You grace me with your cold shoulder
Whenever you look at me I wish I was her
You shower me with words made of knives
Whenever you look at me I wish I was her
You look at me with those knowing eyes. Those striking green daggers that slice through my defenses like a carnivore devouring her prey. I glare back, warning you to keep your thoughts to yourself. I don’t need you to tell me how to live my life.
Your sarcastic smile betrays your intentions and I can hear your laughter echoing through my mind as you walk away. I offer you the same cold shoulder, but you’re too wrapped up in being right to bother noticing my annoyance.
Whenever I look at her, I wish you were wrong. I wish you’d have just kept to yourself and let me stay ignorant. I long for the bliss of freedom.
You taunt me with hope. A playful breeze teases your rich burgundy locks and it catches her eye. Would she notice if you inched closer to her, or found a reason to touch her golden skin? Would she mind if you took her hand in yours or kissed her ever so gently?
Why do I care? You aren’t afraid to stand tall and be yourself, and I think she likes that about you. It’s no business of mine whether you feel the same way about her.
But whenever I look at her, I wish I weren’t so afraid myself. I wish you’d voice your opinion already and take this secret, this burden, from my heart.
“How do you truly feel?” I ask you. “You’ve been dying to say it, so do it. Tell me.”
You cut me with your words. Your hate and loathing dig into the scars of my past and potential futures fade in the face of my meager confidence. You tear me down and berate me for my lack of bravado. For my fear. You back me into a corner and I cry out for release from your suffocating thoughts.
“Please,” I beg you, “please leave me be.”
I flinch as you reach out your arms and wrap me in an honest, loving embrace. You smooth my hair and caress my cheek, apologizing all the while.
“I’m so sorry,” you cry alongside me. “I didn’t mean it. I’m nervous. I’m unsure. I’m flawed. And I’m scared, too.” You admit to your fears and I search your soul for the truth in your words.
You and I are one and the same, and I can no longer deny it. In my fear, I hid outwardly from the world behind a mask of social acceptance and feigned routine. In your fear, you lashed inward with hurtful insults and a frozen heart. But I know better now. We both were afraid of the same thing. Of the rest of the world judging us. Of our—of my—real, raw, heartfelt emotion.
But why? Why care what they think, what they say, when she exists and is good? The terror seems like nothing but a nightmare now, dissipating as the sun rises and my mind clears. A new day has dawned, and the fear is all but gone. When I look at her, I’m not afraid. Because when I look at her, the rest of the world disappears.
I know that when I look at her, with her beautiful blonde curls and her adorable nose, I want her. When my gaze meets the endless oceans of her blue-green eyes, I fall for her all over again. When the vast universe of freckles that adorns her cheeks matches the dance of the stars in the night sky, I am in awe of her. When she whispers my name and tilts her head just so, with that tiny inviting smile that makes the sun want to rise each day just to shine a light on it, I am in love with her.
For too long now, you’ve looked at me with eyes that craved freedom. That longed to feel accepted. You’ve wanted me to stand tall and admit that my heart has been stolen by a woman. Every time you’ve looked at me, I wished I was that girl, the one who didn’t hesitate to be open and honest and independent, who wasn’t afraid to be herself and show the world how there is only one love, and it is good. I’m sorry it took me so long to become that girl I wished to be.
Maybe, just maybe, there is still time for one potential future to exist. The one where she notices the new me. Where she takes my hand in hers and kisses me ever so gently. Where we watch the sun rise on our new lives and it is good.
Got a poem, sentence, or short story that fits the prompt? Leave it in the comments!