Artemis Drifting

Just because she tippietoes, doesn't mean she's a creepin'.


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You’re trying to latch a stubborn earring into your lobe, pinching the impossibly small metal backing in one hand and using numb fingers from a too long elevated arm to pierce a thin spear of metal into the hole dimpling your flesh. Sometimes, this act requires enough experience that a slightly inebriated surgeon might give you a shot at repairing a weak aortal wall. 


Course, seven times out of ten you’re going to drop one piece or another – and for me, it always seem to bounce its way across carpet or wooden flooring to disappear right under my bed. Then there’s getting down on your hands and knees, hearing the familiar pop and grind beneath your left knee cap. It’s worth it. The earrings are cute.


You reach under, grope, and slide your fingers over the floor waiting for the metal to jump up and nip into your palm. It would appear to all be going to plan, and you anticipate once again wrestling with the blasted adornment. This time, though, your finger bumps into unfamiliar leather. You curl your fingers over the crushed heel of a boot and draw it back out into the light. 


You know the owner, you think. It isn’t anyone who has any business with their damn shoes under your bed, but there they are anyways – having lurked with the dust bunnies and the perpetually lost other half of your favorite pair of socks. You cup your hands around the ankle of the boot and without knowing it, you’re measuring. You won’t fit, your narrow feet and nimble toes would flounder in the cavern inside. 


But you’re comparing yourself anyways. You can’t help it. You trace the scuffs, study the fray of the laces and observe the worn rubber soles. You could’ve never done all that, and the history floods into you like a powerpoint dedicated to cold calculations based on comparative yardsticks. There’s nothing like you on this boot, not a single touchtone for you to connect with. 


Anxiety follows, and you have suddenly created a shadow leg that has spilled upward from the black mouth of leather that would have cradled the curve of a muscular calf. Then in panic, you find the boot’s match, and before you know it you’ve created a golem of your own fears. You start to see it in your mirror, and no matter how much you rend your flesh before it – it’s never good enough. It haunts your steps, crawls across your vision when you see loved ones and robs you of your confidence. You blacken your eyes, bind your hair, thrust yourself wantonly towards anyone, anything, that can see through that shadow and still reach you.


But the truth of the matter is, you created a monster that has stolen your bravery, your esteem, your beauty and your hope. Even if you had not dropped that earring and went looking, soon enough, those boots would have walked out on their own.


It is unavoidable.

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