Billy knows. I am sure of it. He  knows I am hiding something from him. I didn’t dare ask why the box was out. After all, it is his workshop, my things are invading his workspace. There are any number of reasons he could have had the box there, from needing to get to something it was blocking to setting his work on it. I don’t believe he was snooping about, nor do I care if he did. It would be my own fault for not destroying my old journals and poems from that horrible time. I don’t know why I haven’t. It is all the past and it is not who I am anymore.

 

I am torn between trying to act like nothing happened and that the box is unimportant, and telling him about my childhood and what happened in that theater. I fear for the reaction he will have, to see a look of disgust, or worse, pity in his eyes. Eyes that love me. Can something so traumatizing be shared? Would he be able to look at me the same way after knowing?

 

Deep down, I know it was not my fault. The man who did this to me and my parents are the bad guys. I have worked so hard in my life to overcome how my parents raised me, to find value in myself where they gave me none. To be everything they were not, loving, affectionate, kind. To shun the glitter and status and be a good person.

 

And yet, that frightened little girl continues to cry inside of me, desperate for love herself, validation, to know that I am not a burden or an intrusion or inconvenience. I try to be of value to everyone in my life, from work to home and in between, to be the kind of person people are proud to know.

 

Maybe I am just as bad as my parents, chasing a ghost of an ideal of what people want. I don’t know how to live to make myself happy. I have such blessings in my life with Embry and Billy and Aerie.

 

Aerie. Almost my ultimate failure. All of my childhood almost kept me from my child when she needed me the most. I shut down and held back, my own haunting keeping me from being present. I may have been the mother at the time, but deep inside I was back inside that theatre, the cold home, a vessel for something else, fearing what happened was all my fault.

 

How can I explain all of this to Billy? How do I tell him that my cold side, when I shut down is fear? Downright terror? And what am I afraid of? Someone who is long gone and could not possibly hurt me any more? Or am I afraid that I am what they said I was? That I do not deserve the happiness in front of me?

 

I just don’t know what to do.

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