Broken | By: Deryck OByrne | | Category: Short Story - Dark Bookmark and Share



I walked ten thousand miles carrying you on my back,

My feet bare and bleeding as the glass cut them to shreds,

Knowing that if I put you down my pain would stop

And I could attend to my wounds.

But though you weighed heavily on my heart and my soul

It was a burden I welcomed; I even welcomed the pain --

Every sharp stab and sliver of glass reminding me

That I was saving you from enduring the same;

And happy to take your pain, to save your heart

Though my own cried out piteously for rest.

Love endures any hardship, faces any challenge

Even if there seems no reward at the end.

Love survives and persists like the hardiest shoot at winter,

Doggedly holding up its head to the sun, waiting for summer,

Waiting for the first gentle kiss of a spring breeze,

Waiting for the ice and the snow to melt away,

For the harsh chill to recede and the sun to shine.

I waited through fifteen winters, I watched for the sunshine;

I waited for the warm breeze, prayed for the soft rains,

But spring never arrived.

So I lived in a permanent winter, my face turned towards the sun,

But the sun would not turn its radiant face towards me.

There were times when I foolishly thought that winter was over,

But it always closed its dark cloak about me,

Having teased me with a tantalising glimpse of what could have been

If only the clouds would roll away,

But they never did.

And my love, surviving in the harshest of climes, cried its snowflake tears

And asked why you treated me as you did.

And the wind, sighing in the trees of my loneliness, and the hard stars above me every night

Made no reply.

But love and hope (and, letís be honest, a stubborn refusal to see) together are a potent force;

And my heart went on, telling me that things would be better, that things would change.

I allowed you so many excuses that I forgot half of them

And ended up blaming myself.

And I thought of the men you had known, who had hurt you so much ---

Knowing that I would never do such a thing

I couldnít understand why you cared so little for my feelings.

The phone became an enemy, and I dreaded its ringing in case it was you:

And yet I still hoped it would be.

If I rang you, I rehearsed what I had to say, and prayed you would welcome the call.

When you often didnít, my heart broke in pieces

And once again

I picked up the shattered fragments,

Glued them together,

And added to the growing tally of the hurt I experienced just by loving you.

You were my first thought in the morning and my last at night,

And I always worried that you were okay.

But you never called to ask how I was, not once:

I used to wonder if you cared at all.

I think that perhaps, some years ago, you did,

But you donít now.

My phone is silent now.

It was the little things that hurt, and that I always excused.

I told myself I was being silly, or had done the wrong thing.

But you changed like the wind --- one day happy to hear from me, the next annoyed:

How can anyone live with that?

I used to live for your phone calls --- a visit from you would be like a birthday present

(One year, it was).

I wanted to hold your hand, put my arm around you, but knew I couldnít

So I didnít.

But that wasnít enough for you.

My heart was your home, if you wanted it, but youíd rather live in a box

That youíve built and reinforced around yourself

Till at last no-one can get near.

My heart was your home, but Iím foreclosing, and I have no moustache to twirl.

Youíve been a part of my world most of my adult life:

Youíve been my world for that long, but now itís all come crashing down in flames

And my heart is in Intensive Care, fighting for its life.

But I will survive.

Itíll take a very long time, but eventually Iíll get over you, and reclaim my soul:

It was yours for the taking, but that contract has been broken.

Iíll never see the world again through your eyes, youíll never see it through mine.

The world I thought weíd share together is a cold and lonely place now

And I take no comfort from the fact that itís cold and lonely for you too.

Well, in all honesty, it probably isnít

And that in its way hurts even more.

I would have given you the world,

I would have given up the world for you,

But I no longer have the strength to carry your world on my shoulders,

Not when you keep spreading broken glass before me.

I canít walk any further.

My soul is exhausted.

I need to rest.

My heart is broken.



Rain falls often into our lives

But it should pass, not stay above us in our own personal cloud.

And Iíve watched too many times tears from Heaven mirrored in my own eyes ;

Raindrops sliding down the window, teardrops sliding down my face

While thunder keeps a counterpoint, echoed in your harsh and uncaring words.

But the worst and most malignant and hurtful voice is that which is silent ---

The telephone that doesnít ring.

The doorbell that doesnít chime.

The card that never comes.

The presents gathering dust.

The bank account, greedily and thanklessly swallowing my money.

The promises ---

So many promises




Casually broken.



Iíve waited for you for hours in the rain, in sick anticipation by the phone,

But youíve never really been there.

I was always just a convenience, someone or something to use

And abuse.

Since you knew I would only ever treat you with respect and love

It gave you licence to do what you liked with my feelings.

I thought the sun and the moon rose in your eyes,

Believed every word you said,

Lived for every smile, valued every touch (few though they were),

And was always ready to defend you.

A knight in borrowed, ill-fitting armour:

A relic from a byegone age

Which suited perfectly your purpose.

You werenít there for me in my hour of greatest need, but I was there for you.

I held you in the chapel as you cried ---

I cried alone as I sat in the church with my family.

And even the man I later came to despise on your behalf was there.

But not you.

I didnít use that excuse --- when you needed me I was there,

Though it broke my heart to see you crying.

You couldnít do even that for me.

Not even the dead can compete with you.



I dreamed of a life with you, or at least with you at its centre.

I dreamed we would always be friends,

Always there for one another,

(Or, as I now see, I always there for you).

But the dream has turned to nightmare:

No Happily Ever After.

Sleeping Beauty sleeps on, and the prince is still a frog.

The dream

Is broken.

Of course Iíll be blamed for it all, and some blame I do accept,

But not all.

But you will see yourself the innocent party, and I the villain ---

Again, I have no moustache to twirl:

Make of that what you will.

Iíll cry over you, perhaps for a long time --- your photo no longer greets me in the morning

Nor smiles at me at night.

And youíve been replaced on my computer screen by a vast, empty, uncaring universe:

Iíve changed all my passwords,

And Iíve padlocked my heart to keep you out,

Though I know youíve no intention of entering.

So here it ends: after a decade and a half of standing by your side,

Helping you through and taking your part,

Walking that lonely road with you when no-one else would.

Youíve mugged me and left me bleeding and helpless in the laneway.

Running from the reasons, running from the things you donít want to face:

Running from responsibility, running from kindness,

Running from friendship, running from love.

Iíll recover, but itís clear to me now that youíll always be broken.

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