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This is Why

by S.J. 9 months ago in Bad habits
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the flower vs. the thorn


The undulating rhythm of the midnight N train was as casual as having a demonic dance with your own guilt; it was a testimony to the exhausted dance that each and every one of the haggard crowd who rode those rails swayed to.

Bathed in an ugly stained yellow, the world continued to Queens in a haze; some of them looked, some of them didn’t, but no one could really say that they saw anything except the city lights and their own thoughts. Because really, who could ever honestly admit that they didn’t set their stares out to that beautiful, forever memorized skyline?

It was an image of hope; because if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. It was a challenge and a fantasy all wrapped up in one glittering ball of fucked up self made promises and haphazard mistakes that lead to unexpected lives and lessons.

It was the only thing at the moment that tugged at her heart- that beautiful, unforgettable picture. However many years later and it still made her chest expand and send a silent shiver up and down her spine. She loved that view…

She closed her eyes, wishing the train was not taking her away from the dark, bedazzled metropolis. This was her life.

The sudden jerking stop of the train reminded her of reality and the time on her phone mocked her- it would be at least another hour before she would step foot on her street… When she would come to the crossroads of going home or going across the street to acquire liquid courage.

She loved the soft vibration and sway of the subway car; it soothed her aching soul like the purrs of a kitten would. It was so amazing how the rhythm and the sound just hypnotized the whole body… Making it almost numb.

And it was late. Really late.

It had been a long, draining day at work that had felt infinitely longer after a long, grueling night of arguing that contained more crying than a housewife’s soap opera.

Her body felt swollen and and heavy and every square inch of her skin just… ached.

There was a heaviness in her chest that she had become far too used to.

How did she get here?

And why did she let it happen?

She felt her throat tighten and everything she’d been avoiding today arose and pricked at the corners of her eyes.

Her carelessness towards reality during her youth seemed so insignificant back then, but the consequences are in how fast the days speed by in between each poor decision.

How did yesterday happen three years ago?

And… Why?

It was a question that was a constant plague; it was a word that had truly burrowed itself into the apex of her annoyance. Because while Socratee perfected it, the current population degraded it. And she was embarrassed to hear it.

“Are you okay?”

A young unfamiliar face with old, knowing eyes met hers and there was a quintessential understanding.

A nod of encouragement and the stranger was gone.

The subway continued to move

And now it’s her turn to leave the sullen ice box… Thankfully at this late hour she is only one of a small handful that exits the train rather than the hoad of individuals that swarm like pack mules during the day.

Suddenly her face is rushed with a hot, sticky wall of humidity; the city in July was never her favorite. She didn’t like the city in August, either.

She closed her eyes and breathed in slowly, trying to quell her anxiety and focus her attention on the walk ahead; it was well past midnight and she had many dark blocks to walk down.

Her steps echoed louder than the sirens back in the city; she kept her eyes ahead, but her mind was following along to the playlist that was blaring in her ears.

Finally home.

What is home?

A place where you eat, sleep?

She supposed so…

A place where you feel safe, secure, loved?

Her key hesitated at the door, but it opened before she could make a choice.

His eyes were wild with frenzied excitement as he brought her inside and led her down the hall;

He was like a hyperactive child anxious to show off an accomplishment.

The explosion of beautiful colors and scents shocked her senses as he shoved the beautiful bouquet in her face.

And look- he had cleaned!

Sit, sit! - She suddenly realized that she wasn’t breathing.

...Did last night even happen?

His hands were now soft on her arms,

but sleeves can only cover the sight of bruises.

His voice was now sweet in her ears,

but last night’s words will forever be branded into her memory.

The room looked clean,

but she could spy the piles of broken glass and dust swept to the side like a forgotten past.

Like nothing happened.

His eyes were pleading and his heart was begging for hers;

How could she deny him her light when he was so broken and damaged?

How could she judge what she did not understand?

There is no treasure map that leads to the antidote for his demons.

She is his Polaris- he refuses to believe anything less.

Now his head is in her lap and her heart is in his clenched fists.

The mirror on the wall is still intact… For now.

She wonders for how long… And how long it would take for her to look in any mirror ever again.

Life, like a rose, can have many sharp thorns. Sharp enough to draw blood.

But a rose is also beautiful with so many gorgeous hues and petals so soft and smooth, like the finest satin.

She always believed that the beauty of the flower and what it symbolized was worth the pain and blood that comes from the thorn.

Because a rose bloomed for love, did it not?

But maybe the flower isn’t the prize. Maybe it is actually a distraction from the truth... Whatever that may be.

The room is dark and silent except for his heavy breathing and the sound of traffic and heavy rain through the open windows.

She could feel the weight of him on her lap and on her soul.

Everything was so goddamn heavy.

But then the rain quieted and the clouds shifted and a pale, ethereal light trickled into the room, finding the flowers on the coffee table; they had been haphazardly placed on an opened envelope and a pile of old photographs.

Her heart jerked and twisted, making her vision blurry.

She could not determine the bigger catalyst; the present she was currently living…

Or the past that was captured in those polaroids.

They depicted a fairytale childhood where hot summer days consisted of catching tadpoles and harvesting honeycombs and basking in freedom.

They told stories of humid nights that were spent dancing under her Grandmother’s pear trees with the fireflies and every kind of happiness.

She could still taste the crisp fruit on her tongue just as strongly as the moonlight kissed her skin.

It was almost as heavy as his existence was on hers.

She knows that his addictions push her farther down her own rabbit hole, but pride is like an old baby blanket… it is hard to let go. Especially when she has already invested so much of herself in this… Whatever this is.

He had her heart and he had her love- he was not going to let her go.

But… If he didn’t need her, if he didn’t love her, he would let her go. Right?

And he was not letting her go.

That had to mean something.


Her eyes suddenly travel up to the beautiful display of flowers…

And like a moth, her blind heart only sees the beauty and not the warning.

It’s a toxic tango of bad habits; he wants his habits and he also wants her.

And for once in her life, she wants to be the exception and not the rule.

That’s why.

Bad habits

About the author


I've lived in many different environments and have experienced many lives. I have also encountered even more stories.

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