The game I am not entirely convinced exists is underway. I do not know exactly when it began; you make the rules. You’ve played before.
Sometimes I play out of turn. Quite often I miss my go. You praise these feeble contributions as one would praise a child for no more than correct execution- for basically nothing and everything basic.
I’m shit. Despite the strength of my wishes to show you otherwise, to morph into the quicker witted, more attentively aware girl I once regarded myself to be, I’m shit.
You, you play so well. Natural deftness; weightless nonchalance. That is why I am left in the perpetual state of uncertainty I now inhabit. Uncertainty as to whether you know.
Do you? Do you know? Has your invisible hand played me blind? Have you mastered some magic that turned your gaze upon my face into a privilege? In regarding your time as the ultimate compliment, have I bypassed the cold truth of procrastination or undervalue held somewhere in you?
Slowly. Not slowly. Gradually. Gradual has been your approach to me, to my sustenance. You have handled me like a banana. Like a cheese string. To savour in exposure. Amidst the attention, amidst the penetration of your gaze, you have commanded those soft tones you hold to untangle my chest and illicit whispers from my soul. You have held me out, raw and depleted, in front of you.
But my palms remain open. The peaks and the troughs of the previous days have seen me vow to venture no further down this road. To take not another risk. After years of being described as having a closed, ostensible core, I could not resist. I do not know if I tried. This is borne, predictably, from the indulgent hope you are speaking from emotion. Be it concern, or empathy, or your own internal heroic fantasies, but from a feeling that comes from me.
Do I give something back? I do not wish to be inspected, dissected. Pulled apart as far as necessitates a small amount of tourism of my life, only to find myself open, confused. Permanently perhaps.
Dare I say it- you could care.
I stand here now. With one foot on the precipice of believing that. I will fall, of course. I’m already losing- I don’t know the rules.