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The Things You Thought I Didn't Know

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Start by pulling him out of the fire and hoping he will forget the smell. He was supposed to be an angel but they took him from that light and turned him into something hungry, something that forgets what his hands are for when they aren’t shaking. He will lose so much, and you will watch it all happen because you had him first, and you would let the world break its own neck if it means keeping him.

Start by wiping the blood off his chin and pretending to understanding. Repeat to yourself, “I won’t leave you, I won’t leave you,” until you fall asleep and dream of the place where nothing is red.

When is a monster not a monster? Oh, when you love it. Oh, when you used to sing it to sleep.

Here are your upturned hands. Give them to him and watch how he prays like he is learning his first words. Start by pulling him out of another fire, and putting him back together with the pieces you find on the floor. There is not much to forgive, but you do not know how to forget.

When is a monster not a monster? Oh, when you are the reason it has become so mangled.

Here is your humble offering, obliterated and broken in the mouth of this abandoned church. He has come back to stop the world from turning itself inside out, and you love him, you do, so you won’t let him.

Tell him that you will never know any better. Pretend to understand why that isn’t good enough.

Caitlyn Siehl, “Start Here”