Set Sailing By a Scotsman Singing Sea Shanties from Afar

Shoved onto the ship and pushed from the shore with only a foot and a shit-eating grin, they were swept away by the rough waves of the Atlantic Ocean. They laughed and shook their heads. “A joke,” the two agreed; however, the pair soon discovered there were neither lifeboats nor paddles. The ship lacked a captain, a crew, a steering wheel—they were the sole occupants of the free-floating vessel. The joke quickly faded, and soon, each found themselves ensnared within the other’s grasp.

She was baffled. He struck her like a bolt of lightning—jolted a blackened, long dead heart to bare even a weak pulse. How? And…he? She…wasn’t…She was dumbfounded, in shock. The thought hummed in her mind, growing, until she could hear only the screams of the emotions she tried to smother—an art she’d perfected over the years that had now failed her. She could only spit the words silently in hiding, where he would never find them. The screams dulled to a tolerable, growling mumble once more. She could think, sleep, breathe again, even if the secret scribblings of frustration and fear tugged at the back of her mind both in and out of consciousness. What she did say came off as she they had first agreed upon: a joke. Or rather, she thought. Those short weeks passed, and the screams returned, consuming her entire being. Each breath, each movement, each waking thought and remembered dream, those buried words moved closer and closer to the surface.

Their exchanges were no longer a jest, their tones no longer playful, their smiles no longer teasing. They were genuinely sailing together. They were far from the shore, long past seeing it even on the horizon as the sun set behind them. Many kilometers away, they had unknowingly drifted into deep, pitch black waters. Once standing on opposite sides of the ship, they came to stand face-to-face. And with one, particularly powerful wave, shaking the massive boat to its very core, she stumbled into his arms.

She lifted her eyes to meet his, reading a warmth in them meaning nothing more than, “The joke has long been over,” as a smile tugged at the corners of his lips. And slowly, she smiled back. Her eyes lit up, catching the flicker of the shining stars above. Her confusion had been ripped away by the recession of the powerful wave that had pushed her to him. Her mind had calmed. Complete silence. She only murmured a soft, short response:

I know.

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You’re Worried?

You love one whose thoughts slither from a mass of tangled,frayed,
stripped,
severed,
bent,
and warped self-loathing;
one whose dreams dance around the idea of (and sometimes seek out) the allure of an eternal abyss long before one her age should,
as if it were normal that anyone should.
You’ve traveled through the recesses of her mind, only injuring yourself in the process.
Tch.
And you’re the one that’s worried?

You bear the scars of chemical burns,
evidence of the chemical combustion of her mind spitting acid in her words.
You wear your own wounds of the past,
of which she has,
though unintentionally,
dug her claws into and made bleed further,
causing you unnecessary heartache—
unnecessary pain.
And though she is sorry,
she questions your forgiveness.
She does not deserve it.
And you’re the one that’s worried?

She cringes at silly things,
flinches at uncontrollable human reflexes,
withdraws,
hyperventilates,
trembles,
freezes,
and in the past,
even cried,
at the most basic of human needs,
desires.
Yet here you remain beside her,
refusing to leave.
And you’re the one that’s worried?

The majority of her heart is dead,
smothered and beaten,
abused,
neglected.
What little remains is shoddy,
spotty in functionality.
“Condition: mediocre at best.”
She can be cold,
far away in her own mind,
unfeeling.
She fails to find words,
to give meaning to the emotions smoldering in her thoughts.
Only short,
repetitive syllables.
Nothing intelligible.
And you’re the one that’s worried?

She’s worried.
More than you can imagine.
She never knows when that last admitted thought of the end,
that last injury to you,
that last chemical burn,
that last bloody talon torn out of past wounds,
that last shutdown,
that last cold,
unfeeling night,
will drive you away.

She’s worried,
above all else,
that you will one day disappear,
but she will understand.

And you’re the one that’s worried?