The Heart of A Phoenix

By:  Jean Watters

Pain.  It was everywhere.  In my joints and my shoulders, I carry the weight of my world.  In my heart, I allow bitterness and disillusionment.  Slowly smothering any essence of my life.  A blanket of thick, heavy, black lava slowly winds its way through my arteries.  The searing burning heat of passion quickly turning cold and hard.   The dead rock crumbles to ash, leaving nothing in its wake.  A life that once was is now a cold, dead skeleton.

I once believed in love at first sight.  But silly kids believe in silly things.  Faith misplaced, a grander scheme.  Unknown to me what may be.  People seem so sure of their choices.  Not me.  I don’t know what I’m doing?  Twisted and turning the world is crazy.  A leaf, detached, yellowed and dirty with tattered edges, tossed about in the swirling wind.  Where I land is where I go.

Emotions run like wild horses on the open plains.  Hot tears fall rapidly, streaming, flowing.  Death in my broken heart.  But death isn’t really death.  Grieving my loss.  Questions remain unanswered.  Another season, I’m another leaf.  Winds pick up and I drift about, unknowing, lost, broken.   Then what?

Waiting. Watching. Wondering.  Here I sit; here I wait; life passes me by.  I’m neither here nor there.  I’m neither going forward or backward.  I sit silently waiting.  Like the stillness of the midnight black early morning hours.  I hear only my breathing.  Feel only my thunderous heart beating solidly inside my chest. I’m still while everything circles around me.

Life is a rollercoaster.  I hate roller coasters.  The ups and downs, loops, twists and turns.  Going so fast and sometimes slow.  Never knowing what to expect, or what is around the corner.  Drama and chaos lead me aggressively.  I follow obediently like a faithful, beaten dog.

Decisions and choices so early in life, never knowing the outcome or impact.  A tiny seed began to grow.   What then, was a girl to do?    A precious one, so young and green.  I thought I was ready.  Soon I would learn you’re never truly ready.  Taking life as it comes to me.

Chapters end, new ones begin.  Fresh faced, bright – eyed, innocent and naïve.  The world is still a magical, wondrous place.  I only need to have enough courage to JUMP!  Leap forward into this life.  Open my wings and take flight on blustery winds.  Circling high above rocky canyons, soaring, lifting.  Just begin, and in the end, it will not look like what it was intended to be.

Down, down, down.  Here is where hell lies.  A state of mind I live in while I’m alive.  The grip tightening around my wrist and my throat like the claws of a wicked witch pulling me this way and that way.  Holding me tightly, choking and gasping.  Insanity fills my brain.  There is no room for feeling – thinking.  There is only pushing and pulling.  The witch’s claws dig deep into my skin.  Bloody marks are the only evidence I’m still alive.  Down, down, down.  Hell lives in me.

Broken wings cannot fly.  A will and a way and a stray lonely road are all that is left of this lonely life.  One step, each step, plodding along barefoot, leading to the place where life can begin again.  A path, a way, a light, a tunnel.  Awakening from slumber, new days start with the dawns dew glinting fresh against green blades of grass.  The sky is painted blue as birds sing the crisp, clean fresh air.

Life begins again.  The flames of hell nip at my heels.  I move forward toward the light with each step.  And then, looking back, I reach my hand into the flames of hell. Rising up, roaring and hot, blazing bright, I’m burned once again.  But did I not stick my hand in the fire just to see if it’s still hot?

An identity unknown, personas are many, none seem to fit.  The struggles continue.  The hot flames of hell are close enough to smell. Sulfur and brimstone float above a black abyss, calling me, coaxing me, cajoling me.  Smoky haze clouds my vision, fills my nostrils.  Blood iron fills my mouth as nausea rises.  A deep dark place of the minds own making.  Oh, Lord, please pull me from this grave.  I have not the strength to climb out myself.  Weak and weary, cold and wet, I lay my headache down. 

Live, learn, laugh.  Live and fail, get up and try again.  GET UP!  TRY AGAIN!  GET UP!  Live, laugh, learn.  Laugh some more.  Laugh again and again!  It’s time for a change.  My light lets them find me.   Glowing brightly.  Like a cat slinking into yoga, I accept impossible possibilities.

Finally, I’m coming up for air.  Inhaling it in.  The cool breeze blows across the cosmic heavens.  I feel the earth shake and tilt on its axis and this is it.  This is my moment.  I breathe it in.  Confidence takes shapes.  I’m in control of my destiny.  No longer a leaf at the mercy of the wind, now I set my intentions and calculate every misstep.  My fate determined by my choices.  Mistakes were made and lessons learned. 

I see you from across the room.  Butterflies wake up and sparkling light shines down like bubbles in champagne.  I know you and I see into you. Your heart, your sadness, your joy, your fear, your strength, your shame.  I see it all and you are me.  I love you for it.  You will be my lesson and I will be your love.

A gift wrapped in a box of red and gold metallic paper.  It cost him nothing and he gives it to me freely.  It glows softly for me.  A ball of light larger than the sun.  I hold it in my hands.  Disbelieving.  And then, I accept his gift willingly and place it between my ribs.  Close to my heart and lungs I breathe it in.  He sees me knowing, laughing.  This is the perfect gift.

Life’s hopes and dreams begin to come true.  A sacrifice will be expected.  The bill comes due and the flames of hell are close at hand again.  I think I know myself now.  I’m tired of fighting.  Fighting this life, fighting this relationship.  Wishing for something more.  When did I become dead?  When can I live again?

Tolerant apathy is not happiness.  True happiness is forged in the fires of hell where the brilliant phoenix rises from the ashes.  He is a catalyst, a match, tossing a spark onto smoldering ashen coals and a life or two, maybe more, forever changed.  A brief meeting of souls. This is what I’m waiting for.  A fire burning brightly and raging out of control.  His work is done. 

JUMP!  And by faith, I jumped not knowing if I would be caught.  But I knew.  I know you will catch me when I jump.  But then again, you don’t have to catch me because you’re already holding onto me.  Sometimes, when I'm not looking, there you are holding my hand, arms linked through mine, cuddling me to your chest.  I want to hold on too.  I see you in my dreams and I feel it in my belly when you think of me.   

My heart aches from missing you, but I would rather let you go on your own than try to force you to believe in something you don't.  My heart locked in chains, bloody and scarred, beats quietly.  You’re here loving me in my heart.   I can’t hide away from you.  You’re always here.  Your love, infinite and knowing, bubbles up like a cool spring on the side of a volcano, quenching the fires of my heart. 

My soul remembers my love.  He is my warrior prince.  I am his peasant princess.  Teasingly, I mock his royalty.  A crown of flowers upon my head.  Our love forbidden, I run through fields of flowers, wild and free, naked, laughing gleefully.  I remember what he sees.  The roundness of my backside.  The smoothness of my skin.  The glint of late afternoon sunlight reflecting off my hair.

His arms strong and tan – he retires the chase.  Brings me to the ground.  I see me in his memory.  Beautiful smile, laughing eyes.  Honey skin, free spirit.  I remember our love – Forbidden.  I see him now, my mighty warrior prince.

Lifetimes and lovers and reincarnation.  A new season, a new world, an ageless love.  No longer forbidden.  [I feel your heartbeat as I lay my head on your chest;  Buh-bump… buh-bump… buh-bump…] Fear and terror hold us back.  But our hearts and souls remain linked.  [I hear you breathing softly and feel your warm arms wrap around me.]  Remember our love.  Remember me as I call to your soul.  I hear you calling me like the sirens song.  Through the fog I stumble, along a path leading to you.  As the veil of reality is lifted and cobwebs swept away from the recesses of my mind, your sweet lips meet mine and we remember.  And I feel peace, warm and soft and safe.  I feel content being there with you.  I fall asleep knowing you’re holding me.  And I wake to a new world where every day is a feast of your flesh.