My mother’s captain, her prince, was gone. She waited and waited for him. Eventually she left him, but leaving was never what she wanted. Maybe, if he had asked, my mother would have boarded that ship. If she could not be his greatest adventure, she’d have settled for sharing it.
Our favorite stories can be like lovers. Make sense to me, we ask them. Make sense of me. Here, fix these hurting parts. And stories do, sometimes better than our lovers.
We all carry a small catalog of unsealable wounds. Maybe these breaches of conscience that retain their power to sear are necessary reminders of our own boundaries. We touch them to remember. To prevent future transgression. But no sting compares to this one. It carved something out of me. A space that filled with the shocking light of how much I could hurt the person I least wanted to. It was the first love that made sense of the word tender, which refers not only to a gentle feeling, but to the ache and vulnerability of loving someone. Which is not the same thing as protecting them.