I Collect Men Like I Collect Seashells Along The Shore

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Walking along the beach that afternoon

I realized

That I collect my men

Like I collect shells along the shore.

I’m attracted to the dark and brooding

Exteriors of deep hues that imply mystery and secrets.

Carefully caressing them as I lower them into the tide,

Gently removing the sand

That clings to their surface; concealing their beauty from the Earth.

But after a while, I stop picking them up

Because I have already grabbed so many like them

And so only the shiny objects begin catch my eye

Because they offer something different.

The sun dancing across the embedded crystal;

The smooth, milky texture of the conch

But even the glitter loses my interest in the end.

Eventually I stop searching the ground all together.

I look out to the ocean

And find comfort in the chaos

Of sand rushing through my toes

As the waves crash mercilessly on top of my bare feet.

Breathe deeply

Swallow the lump in my throat

Feel my stomach sink and expand

My heartbeat irregular.

The epiphany that all I really needed

Was me.

I carry the shells nonchalantly in my Sperry shoe

Because my hands are too small to satisfy my greed.

And when I get home I dump them into a jar,

Store the glass container in a corner to collect dust

And never give it another thought.

That is…

Until the day I feel lost,

Nostalgic for a romanticized version of the past.

I’ll eye the jar from the corner of the room

And take it from its shadowy fortress

To re-examine all of my souvenirs

And re-establish an adoration

For the rich palettes

And shimmering exteriors

Smiling at the memories we created together. TC mark

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