Deception as Modus Operandi

You’d rather no one knew you, no one noticed you, no one remembered you.

Everyone and no one at once, a mind made of steel, a heart made of stone until it cracks, you’re a chameleon with the ability to adapt to any situation.

“Deception,” you once told me. That was the most outspoken you’d ever been about your life.

Closeness is a risk you don’t allow yourself because you can’t afford for this careful curated blank exterior to take on the glow of humanness.

Your shapeshifting ways let you get close enough to others to examine and dissect and retrieve information but never to feel. You’re at home in the shadows, observing.

We were neighbors once, I was never meant to come back to the light but when I did, all I wanted was to bring you with me.

You’d rather no one knew you, no one noticed you, no one remembered you.

Between the lines hides an invisible still life where we found each other, frozen in time by the weight of our respective predicaments.

We started sawing off the bars of our cages with pens but the hand of darkness yanked you back toward the shadows.

What little strength I had gathered wasn’t enough to pull you to safety so you bowed out and disappeared for a while.

The wandering star I had grown used to seeing every time I looked up no longer shone.

Haunted by the ghost of your former self, you drifted between life and death before choosing life once more, against all odds.

You’d rather no one knew you, no one noticed you, no one remembered you.

You say you taught me nothing because you never take credit; self-sacrifice is all you’ve ever known.

But it’s by your side that I relearned what hope was and rediscovered dehumanization was reversible with attention and intent.

You left yourself behind a long time ago so you wouldn’t stand in your own way and now you can’t find your way home.

But you still know who you are even if you think no one else does; I do.

When your heart cracked, I saw your dreams, I saw what you sought to conceal, I saw the trigger that could save your life and vowed to help.

You turned away.

You’d rather no one knew you, no one noticed you, no one remembered you.

I’m still here, I still know you.

How could I not?

Did you help me find a way out of darkness with encouragement and attention because you already knew you could never save yourself?

Have the shadows disappeared you for good this time?

We’re no longer neighbors but that darkness lives on within me and likely always will.

Know that I’m keeping a place in the light by my side for you and an extended hand at the ready.

Until my last breath.

You’d rather no one knew you, no one noticed you, no one remembered you.

You’ve now destroyed your work, erased the eloquent outpourings of a heart which was once both glad and surprised to still be alive.

And how you could write!

I tried to make you understand writing could help us process life at our own pace.

With time and dedication and the right words, we can rebuild ourselves and rewrite a narrative gone awry even when the page looks at us askance.

The willingness to push through the discomfort of existence in print can free us from self-imposed limitations and shame. Were it not for words, I would no longer be around.

I fear you may have decided you’ve run out of time.

You haven’t.

You’d rather no one knew you, no one noticed you, no one remembered you.

Even transient attachments perdure for we’re the sum of all the human interactions we ever engaged into. They all count, the nurturing ones as much as the destructive ones.

Life takes us to distant places but strong bonds do not fade nor do they ever become a noose.

To know you are thriving would make my heart soar; to have a hand in facilitating this would be an honor and a privilege.

But such a decision isn’t mine to make, it belongs to you.

From friendship to family, the many flavors of love that bring us humans together are always a result of choice.

As is silence as goodbye.

I’m a French-American writer and journalist living out of a suitcase in transit between North America and Europe. To continue the conversation, follow the bird. For email and everything else, deets in bio.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store