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When I was small, I had no knowledge of the world, but for the experience you allowed me. Denied at first, then absentee, mired in your own illness, the inconsistent calico woven to be passed off as others were given unbroken silk. The responsibility yours, but never fully grasped, tainted by your inability to recognize innocence, truth, and honor, opting instead to hold things together with duct tape, broken promises, shame and guilt. Roles were reversed as I came to understand there was never accountability or responsibility, and soon the child became the only adult.

Your love is like diet soda, sweet at first, but finishes bitter and without nourishment. It fools the mind into thinking it is satiated, but is nothing but emptiness. The obligation left is one of maintaining an addiction, not to drugs, but to people crammed into roles which suit you. They fit like borrowed clothing, sizes too small, unflattering and torn. Amid violence, intoxication, and rage, we are expected to forgive, forget, too soon and without apology. It became clear that there were only one person’s feelings that mattered; the unpredictable, unwieldy monstrosity of unresolved, enmeshed, triangulated, strangulation could not be wrangled by even the strongest among us.

There came a day when I stumbled, as if by fated accident, upon that sweet truth and honesty that is real. The waves of generosity and gentle support were jarring at first, caught on the jagged edges of scar tissue unready for the love of a healthy, genuine human being. But truth is patient, kind, and unwavering, and soon the wounds were soothed, eyes opening into the uneasy but steadfast light of day you were so ready to deny.

Now, in the disparity between function and disarray, I cannot reconcile both and remain whole. I see the spun tires worn down in the mire, but you refuse to acknowledge. You strike out in rage while I call it out for what it is. Wanting no help, only a co-conspirator in your fantasy, I have outgrown these games, denial of the truth in front of my face no longer possible.

The scars nearly gone, you fight to make new, but your attempts to harm are simply too easy to spot now, limbs flailing wildly, striking all who stand too close. And, again, I take yet another step back from you. Your truth and mine cannot coexist, and it seems that our time on this path together will end. If I am to survive, I have no choice but to diverge, and remove myself from your line of fire. It is heartbreaking to leave a man to drown, but what can be done for one so unwilling to receive the life preserver? Do you let the fool push your head under in his own panic?