“you’re different now,” she said
and I felt myself bristle, a guard rising, like thick, black oil, hot and murky, high in my throat.
brewed with sarcasm and defense mechanisms
“I love this side of you”
and I felt that guard begin to thin, transforming instead into a wild river, cold from the melt of the last snow of the winter. it runs back down my throat, into the core of my being.
like every remaining wall of that small box i’d created for myself in order to take up less space crumbled,
and everyone i’d ever tried to be for other people didn’t matter anymore.
I was validated
wholly and wonderfully
and I love this side of me too.