She wasn’t used to men like him.

She wasn’t used to men who had truly found their power. Power not rooted in what was seen as  typical male arrogance, or macho cockiness, but in a true sense of self. She had never seen a man so able to stand tall against the storms of the world while also able to bend to the winds of love and compassion. She had never known a man so strong in his softness, so clearly defined in his own blurry lines, and so rigid in the flexibility of his own humanity.

Such uniqueness unnerved her and, in the unequal light from which she viewed all things, he became a villain. He challenged her ideas just by his existence, and he became an object of obscured venom shot in his direction but at others who had taken their toll on her.

She could see them in him.

She could hear them in his voice.

She could feel them in his touch.

She only knew them in his desire.

He never really existed to her. They did. His name was not his, it was theirs. His heart beat to their rhythm, his smile muted by the clouds others had created.  Clouds that separated two souls meant to know each other.

She considered the thin veils she had placed between them as necessary, but to him they were thick walls he could never climb. He craved her, but he also loved her. That love meant she was free to fly, to crash, to run free or imprison herself behind any bars she wanted. Greater than any desire he had for her body, there was a deep love of her soul.

So his altar was empty, and he slept alone amidst the foggy tales she would tell. He walked with an empty hand, and sat at a table with a single place setting. He’d run in the hills alone, and listen to songs that stirred his heart without her, his maiden lost to the mist of her own fears, her own choices.

She wasn’t used to men like him. Men who could love her even as she played with old memories. Men who could cherish her as much in her absence as they would in her presence. Men who could make love to her simply by doing nothing at all, save the simple prayer of her name in a final breath of consciousness.

In the mix of love and labor we lay, working through the mist and insanity of lives lived in universal perfection. Emptiness known through fullness, love known through fear, passion known through complacency. In short bursts we experience one to know the other, and in short bursts we see the fruits of labor through the love we share not often in the touch, but in the absence of such pleasantries. True love is not known as much on the down slope as it is in the climb, for we find much more relief as we sit upon a summit than we do in staring up at it from the base.

We all know them, we’ve all been them, and in the moment when we find ourselves in complete realization we forgive them. What a summit that is.

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