Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Arena

They came
Slipping silently into my dreams where I am defenseless and whisked me away to the arena of judgment
A hush fell as I was deposited, left on my own
I’d heard rumors
But nothing had prepared me for the actuality
Standing there surrounded by a hoard of nameless faces
Waiting for the pronouncement of my fate
Sure to be bad for as the stories go all were
I stood
The center of curious, hostile attention for far longer than comfortable
Why did they delay?
I was petrified
Yet anxious for them to proceed
Get on with it to get it over with
Then they spoke
And it was even worse than expected
A great injustice has been committed
Why are you still here?
I didn’t understand but before I could question their meaning image after image played across the huge screens rimming the arena
Each one showed a moment in my life when I realized just how much I didn’t belong
One after the other
Ceaselessly reminding me
Forcing me to relive every one of them
Making me revisit the pain of continually being an outsider
A constant misfit
I wanted to rail at them to stop
To end the agonizing torment
But I remained silent, still
For they were all true
On and on it went
Each incident hurtful enough when isolated
But strung together, way too much
Why are you here?
The scenes switched to a litany of all the times I’d contemplated ending it
The ultimate escape
A permanent removal of myself
Why are you here?
I couldn’t respond
Seeing it all at once showed me I shouldn’t have been
I was wrong to let it drag on as I had
I choked out an I’m sorry
And I was
Not good enough
The screens went black
A blanket of anticipation settled over the crowd, weighing me down
Threatening to suffocate me with its resentment
Fix it
Fix it
Over and over, their final decree rang out through the cheering masses
I was transported back to my bed
I screamed in terror as I’d wanted to since they came
I wept
I tried to convince myself that it hadn’t been real, though I knew it was
I told myself to ignore it
To put it out of my mind
Forget it
But I couldn’t
Every day the urgings got stronger
Fix it
Chanting within my head
Fix it
Fix it
Fix it

Until I knew it would never stop
So I did
Fixed I told the shadows I found waiting
You took too long
Their disappointment was not masked
Back to the arena, empty this time
Stands silently mocking me as my life replayed eternally on the screens
As I fixed it again
And again
And many many times after that
Though it was never enough to satisfy them
I’d failed
And this was now my destiny

©2010 Barbara Huffert

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