Damaged Goods

Once upon a time

There lived a young woman who’s heart was growing on the outside

You may have heard similar stories of babies born like this

But this young lady’s story was unique

You see, she was born with her heart perfectly intact and enclosed inside her body

But when she was 7 years old, her dad left her and her mom for good

She cried herself to sleep

Every night for a month

She missed him terribly

One morning she woke up and felt a lump under her pjs

It felt like it was moving!

She ran to her moms room

Her mom jumped out of bed and ran to her side

She saw the lump moving with her own eyes

It looked like it had a heart beat

She tore off the young girls shirt

And there her heart sat

Exposed and thumping away

Doctors and hospitals and so many tests

Nobody knew what was going on

All tests showed that the girl was perfectly healthy

Her heart was strong

Except for the strange occurrence of her heart being on the outside

As the young girl began to grow into a teenager

Her heart grew with her

When she experienced emotional pain

Like when another birthday passed, with no word from her dad

Her heart throbbed and little cracks started to form at the edges

Every time it beat, she felt a searing pain and a small rip would appear

It would go away for awhile

And then something else would happen

Like the time she saw her mom crying in the kitchen

Her heart would scream its pain so loud she couldn’t sleep

And her heart ripped apart a little more

It was really bad when she turned 18 and started having panic attacks

She was so worried that her heart would completely rip apart and she would die

And her mom would be all alone

She would wake up in a sweat

Crying and her raw red heart ripping in all the wrong places

This young woman and her mom decided to try to follow the advice of a new doctor

Who recommended that every time a rip would appear

The girl or her mom should get a sewing needle and some thread made out of twine and simply sew it up

This reminded the girl of a time when her cabbage patch lost her arm and her dad sewed her back up

Good as new but with a little scar that showed someone had loved her enough to fix her

They were shocked that this seemed to help

Every time something bad would happen

Her heart would rip a little more

And she or her mom would rush to get their needle and thread

And sew it a little more

Soon, her heart looked like battered war-torn soldiers clothing

All stitched together with black twine

Crissing and crossing all over her heart and in a hundred different directions

She felt even more fragile than she ever had

The only thing keeping her intact

Were haphazardly sewn together stitches

She felt like these stitches were somehow holding her whole life together

To keep her from falling apart any further

She wondered what would be the ultimate thing that would finally pull the stitches apart and leave her heart in pieces

She knew she was damaged goods

Maybe she always had been

Broken, cracked and irreparable

Too damaged to be helped

Like the cabbage patch doll who, after her dad left, suffered too many rips and tears to be put back together

There just wasn’t enough of her heart left to piece together

So she did the only thing she could

She hid the needle and thread and found her dad’s phone number

She sat on her bed and called him up

He picked up and she felt like maybe everything would be okay

She spoke to him for a minute or two

He sounded rushed and annoyed

Suddenly she heard yelling in the background

It sounded like a young boy

He was calling for his dad, telling him dinner was ready

She felt the familiar twinge of her heart ripping apart

Her father told her he was busy and said he would call her some other time and hung up

She sat back and let her heart fall apart

One last time

Later that day her mom found her laying on her perfectly made bed

Her eyes open and lifeless with her broken and bruised

Damaged heart

‘Nothing gold can stay’ -Robert Frost

You know that saying

The one that goes something about longing for a place you’ve never even been before?

Sometimes it’s not as romantic of a notion as that

Sometimes it’s a literal place you’ve been to

For me it was a house we lived in

A house we recently sold

To move into more affordable (read: for my situation) living arrangements

It wasn’t just concrete and wood

It was a home in a very real way for me

As an eternal ‘outsider

It can be tricky to find a place where you feel comfortable

Let alone a place where you instantly feel at ease

Most places seem unwelcoming or overwhelming

But not that house

I remember walking in

And seeing the grey walls and dark floors

And laughing to myself that it was like it had been renovated with me in mind

Finding a big bay window in the master bedroom was icing on the cake

I’d sit so often in my bed and look out that bay window and see the centuries old trees that lined the street

Finding comfort in all the beauty that had been there long before me

And would surely be there long after me

It wasn’t just the house

The street made me smile when I drove towards it

Smelling the amazing food of my Portuguese neighbours

Joking how even in the dead of winter they’d be out grilling up some food on a charcoal bbq

We would sit on our stone patio in our wicker chairs

Listening to the sounds of the neighbourhood

Music and cars and laughter

I can’t tell if any of it is even real anymore

Did I make it all up?

Maybe it never really existed

It should make me feel better

Less sad

Less nostalgic

It should make me hopeful that if a place like that could ever have existed

Maybe I can find it again

But I don’t feel that way

I feel sad and bitter and filled with regret

I feel certain in this moment

That my soul is so heavy with the weight of regret

That I’ll never be able to find the beauty of feeling home again

So on we go

My troubled soul and me

Perpetually lost

Always an outsider